How do you give your teen choices?

By: Contributors

Part of becoming a responsible adult is learning to make wise choices and decisions, and accepting the results of those choices. You've probably already let your children make relatively small decisions regarding what to wear each day or which subject they should do their homework in first, but as they get older, there are many more choices to make, and many of those choices are major ones. The first factor in the decisions that your teens make has to do with the example they saw at home. Do they see their parents making healthy food choices? Do they witness respectful communications techniques? Are self-growth and continuing education practiced at home? When you set clear rules, provide safe, fun alternatives to risky entertainment, and recognize your teens' smart choices, you're giving them tools to make the right choices in the future.

The next influence on your teens is their peer group. While the frontal lobe in the brain that deals with the decision-making process isn't fully formed until the age of 25, if your teens' friends seem to be even more impulsive and reckless than other teenagers in your neighborhood, you may want to motivate your teen to choose other friends with a more positive influence. In small matters, if your teen makes a poor choice, it's not the end of the world and hopefully it will be a learning experience.


When it comes to making a choice, whether which major to choose in college, whether to experiment with drugs or alcohol, or whether to start a relationship with a member of the opposite sex, show your teen how to gather information about the pros and cons and how to consult others in order to make the wisest choice. If you have to help your teens with choices, solicit their opinion as well, since if they are involved in formulating the options, they won't perceive the choice as being forced upon them from the outside.