When Your Teen is Making Poor Choices
Whether you have a 3-year-old or a 13-year-old, planning ahead for teenage mistakes can help you re-route them from making dangerous choices to making more positive choices. I have never subscribed to the notion that “teens will be teens” or that being rebellious or disrespectful is “normal” for this special age group.
Yes, some things are unique to teens. They try new things, experiment in new ways, and test the boundaries as they try to figure out who they are apart from “the family”. What we should not accept as normal, however, is a disrespectful attitude, engaging in risky behavior, or direct disobedience to those in authority.
Setting these boundaries early and quickly letting them know what is and is not appropriate behavior is key to a fun and harmonious life with your teen. The best time to talk with your teen about the choices they may face as they engage more with others is “before” a crisis arises. Have an open discussion about handling different situations. Here a few topics for some great discussions with your teen.
How would you handle it if your friends wanted to do something like shoplift or drink alcohol?
What will you do if you are with friends and someone starts to do drugs?
How do you think you could avoid these situations in the first place?
What about relationships? What personal boundaries should you set if things progress physically? How will you say “No” or “I’m not comfortable with this.”?
How should you handle it if you have a friend who is engaging in risky behavior and you are worried for them?
Have you ever been bullied? Have you ever bullied someone?
How about driving or riding in the car with another teen?
What is the plan if you are in a group and want to leave because you are uncomfortable?
Trust me, these discussions will be in their minds when they are faced with making decisions on their own. They may not follow your advice, but they just might realize they should’ve listened to you, even if they never actually admit it. Experience is often the best teacher and try as we might, they will make choices that lead to negative experiences. Be prepared to be supportive and help them through when they do mess up. Basically, help them learn to “adult”.
There are many other topics that can be specific to your family to talk about than the ones listed above. Try to have a little sit down once a week and take one topic at a time. Try to lead your teen into coming up with the correct answers and solutions on their own, based on your own family’s values. Do your best not to judge and don’t be surprised when they make the wrong choice, whether in the discussion or real life.
Be a good listener who can be relied upon for support and help when they find themselves in trouble. The more you show patience and support, the more they will trust you. This is not to say there won’t be consequences but love and compassion can lead to better behavior in the future.
One thing I know for sure, if you aren’t the one talking to them about life, someone else is. Be the person they know they can go to for help and solutions.
Hoping for a Happy and Harmonious Home for each of you!
Master Mom – Amanda Olson
Master Amanda Olson is:
• A Master Martial Artist and Instructor of Taekwondo and Tai Chi.
o She teaches at her local Academy and Virtually online.
• An Author of 2 Books – “Create a Happy and Harmonious Home” and “Parenting Survival Guide”
o You can find her books on Amazon by following this link.
• A Public Speaker – Topics include
o Building Confident Children at Home
o Helping Teens with Stress
o Bringing Harmony to Your Home
o Taking Control of Your Life
o Write to her at – Olson’s Martial Arts Academy, INC
• 113 Cherry St. #10 Johnson City, TN 37604
o Email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org