Help Your Tween Make Better Decisions

Making choices isn't always easy, here's how to help

Your tween is growing up and that means that he'll have to make more and more decisions, some of them on his own. You can help your tween learn decision making skills, or encourage him to improve the skills he already has. Consider the tips below as a guide to help you help your tween.  

Help Your Tween Make Good Choices

Make a List: It might be helpful for your child to review some of the big decisions he's had to make so far.

Ask him what the decisions where, what his choices were, and why he found the decision so hard to make. What helped him decide what to do and if he had the chance to make his decision again, would he do anything differently? What did he learn from the experience? 

Recognize Peer Pressure: Peer pressure can make decisions very hard to make, especially if your child is hearing one thing from his friends and something else from you, a teacher, or someone else. Ask your tween to consider ways his friends have tried to influence him, both for the good and the bad. Help him come up with stock responses for when others try to manipulate him. Give your child the confidence to know that you will trust his choices and support him, and that you are always there to help him make the important decisions of his life. 

Role Play: Help your child prepare for possible decision-making scenarios by role playing.

What if your child is asked to the school dance by a friend? What should she say? What if your tween has to decide between playing a sport or joining the school play? What should your tween do if someone offers him alcohol? Give your child a heads-up to difficult decisions by getting him thinking about his possible reactions.

 

Find Trusted Confidants: It can be easier to make decisions if you have someone you trust to help make them. You will likely want your tween to ask for your advice, but your child may also want to seek the advice of others, such as a teacher, a grandparent or an older sibling. Allow your child to seek opinions from trusted sources and to consider them. Have your child make a list of trusted friends, neighbors, or relatives that he can go to when he has a personal decision to make. 

Learn From Mistakes: Once your tween figures out that decisions come with consequences, he may decide to be a bit more serious when it comes time to make a choice. Discuss some of the decisions he made in his life and what the consequences were. How would he do things differently today? Ask him to look ahead when it's time to make a decision to see how his choices might play out. What would the upsides and downsides be? 

Share Your Experiences: You can always share some of your personal experiences with your tween, so that he can understand the choices you've had to make, and the consequences of your decisions.

How did you decide what to do, and what advice would you offer yourself if you could go back in time? Make it a game so that you and your tween know that decision making, while serious, can also be fun to think about. 

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