Teens make poor choices, sometimes really dumb one’s. We have conveyed words of wisdom on them over the years. We’ve shared personal failures, as well as consequences of poor choices – and how we have grown and learned from them. We have spent their whole lives molding, shaping, and guiding them into a capable young adults.
We do, what we hope is a good job, of teaching them what it means to be a moral, decent, and successful adult. They know right from wrong, good from bad, and the difference between a friend and a user. But yet, some of the decisions they make are so bad. How can we bring our teenager back on track without resorting to a parent-imposed house arrest until their 21st birthday?
Teens Make Poor Choices
It’s easy for parents to think of teenagers as younger versions of adults. We feel, for the most part, they should be able to see the consequences of their choices. The problem is, they are not adults yet. Making poor decisions is still part of the process of learning and growing into adulthood.
As a parent, watching the results of our teen’s poor choices is one of the most difficult aspects of parenting. However, there are some ways to guide them towards making smarter decisions as they become well-equipped adults.
It is important to have a conversation about expectations long before a problems arise. Teenagers do not need parents to be their friends, they need parents to set limits and guidelines. This will enable your teen to establish their own boundaries for living as they mature. When teenagers make poor choices, parents must take control of the situation. Having consequences in place is helpful. However, it is never too late to have these conversations or establish consequences.
Your teenager’s friends have a huge impact on their social decisions. Knowing your teen’s peer group and making them an ally can help. Also, provide the home where your teens friends what to hang out. However, don’t want to hover, just be around. Your being available may be the quiet force needed to establish the lines of communication. Friends are extremely important in a teenager’s life, although research indicates parents have more influence on teens than their peers. They are listening to you even when you think they are not.
Being present in our teenager’s life is the most effective way to help them make better choices and prevent poor choices that have already been made. Teens are extremely deft at recognizing phoniness, disinterest, or a hidden lesson. Try to listen to your teen without the need to lecture or personal story with a lesson in disguise. These may be the quickest way to make your child clam up.
Listen to what your teens say when they are willing. Making yourself available allows this to happen more naturally. You can also try to use television shows, news stories, and song lyrics as conversation starters and teachable moments. Allow your teen ask your opinion on situations or ask open-ended questions such as “what would you do if…”. Allowing these types of questions allows them to think through and express their opinions and beliefs. It may also help them make the right choices when real-life situations arise.
Making poor choices is a part of growing up. Without those teaching moments, they would never learn. It’s our job as parents to provide unconditional love with a strong set of guidelines along the way.
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