How To Get Your Teen To Understand The Importance Of Choices
Even the most well-adjusted teenagers struggle with making good choices at times. This is partially due to the fact that they are still developing mentally, physically and emotionally. It is well documented in scientific research that the frontal lobes of teenage brains are not fully connected, which can result in inefficient communication from one part of brain to the other.
In addition to a developing brain, teenagers often struggle with making good decisions because they are highly responsive to their environment. This sensitivity is great when your child is learning a new skill, but detrimental when he or she is using drugs or alcohol. For example, research has shown that when a teenager smokes pot, the cognitive effects last much longer than an adult — who returns to their cognitive baseline much quicker.
Teens also tend to believe they are invincible and that right now is all that matters. It is difficult for them to see the potential consequences of their actions down the road. That fearlessness, when not harnessed can turn into foolishness. Learn more about inciting reasonable fear in your teen here.
When you take those factors and add in a psychological or emotional challenge or disorder, making good decisions can be especially tricky for your teen. It’s important to note that if your teenager is dealing with one of these special challenges, guidance from trained experts through therapy or a treatment program may be necessary.
Here are a few tips for teaching your teen about the importance of making good choices.
1. Pick and choose when to flex your influence muscle.
When you are trying to talk to your teen about the importance of making good choices, it’s wise to pick your battles. Voicing your opinion about matters of personal preference will cause your counsel to fall on deaf ears when it comes to the truly BIG stuff. Save your heart-to-heart chats for choices that truly will affect their long-term goals and happiness. While your son’s wardrobe or hairstyle might drive you crazy, it might be wise to keep your focus more of helping them graduate high school or learning how to cope with depression/anxiety.