When it comes to parenting teenagers, one of the most crucial tasks is helping them develop responsible decision-making skills that will have far-reaching impacts on their future. But how do you broach the topic of choices and consequences without sounding like a lecture?

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Why Teach TEENS to Make Responsible Decisions

We all want our teenagers to be successful and know how to make smart choices. And the good news is that you, as a parent, can help your child learn and understand responsible decision-making in many ways. So they can make the best choice possible, even when the choices they face are difficult.

Teaching your teen about responsible decision-making really doesn’t have to be a daunting experience for either of you. It can actually be an opportunity for both parent and child to learn from each other. Read on for tips and advice on navigating this important topic with your teen!

Set a good example

The best thing we can do as parents to help our children learn about making responsible decisions is to set a quality example and let our children see you make good decisions and see you fail when you make a bad decision.

Many parents try to hide these things from their kids, but by letting them see how things work out for you, even when things do not work out. It helps them learn how decision-making affects themselves and others before making big choices is their responsibility.

Teach them to think through their choices

Teach your teen to think through their choices and the potential consequences of their actions. Encourage them to weigh the pros and cons of each option and to consider how their decisions will impact their lives and the lives of those around them.

A great way to do this is to teach them to sit down and write out their options and how each option could affect the future. Be involved in the brainstorming process.

Encourage them to seek advice

Teens tend not to feel comfortable coming to others for advice when it comes to decision-making. It’s important for your teen to know that they can seek advice when they’re facing a difficult decision to help make a wise choice.

Encourage your teens to talk to a trusted adult, such as a parent, teacher, or counselor, when they’re struggling to make a decision. Remind them that seeking advice is a sign of strength, not weakness, because, at the end of the day, it is not an easy thing to do.

Teach them to manage their emotions

Teach your teen to manage their emotions when making decisions. Learning how to emotionally step back and think about decisions from the outside is a great skill to learn that dramatically helps you make better choices.

Encourage them to take a step back and think through their options when they’re feeling overwhelmed or emotional at any point in life. This is a great practice of self-care.

Remind them that decisions made in the heat of the moment can have lasting consequences.

Help your teenager develop a sense of responsibility

Help your teen develop a sense of responsibility by giving them age-appropriate tasks and responsibilities. Give them household chores, teach them to manage their own money, and have them start making decisions about their own activities.

Learning to be more responsible for themselves is a great way to help make it easier for your teen to make wise decisions knowing they have to be responsible for the outcome.

Teach them about the consequences of their actions

Teaching your teen about the consequences of their actions is vital for them to make smart choices. The best way for your teen to understand consequences and how they affect them is through experiencing natural consequences for their actions.

When using natural consequences for your child, avoid stepping in when your teen has an issue unless the natural consequence can lead to true harm. This will help your teen learn to think about the consequences of choices they make before they make them.

Help them develop their own values

To make wise choices, your teen needs to have morals and values that help them make choices. Help your teen develop their own values in life so that they can fall back on those to help them make wise choices for the rest of their lives.

Teaching your child to have empathy and care about others is the first step to helping your child become an effective decision-maker who makes wise choices that help others rather than cause unintended harm.

For example, teaching your child to think about how others could be harmed by a choice can be a great way for your child to understand that they should make smart choices like not drinking and driving because someone could get hurt.

Teach them to be accountable

Your teen needs to know that they will be accountable for the choices they make. Natural consequences are great for helping with teaching your child to be responsible, but there will still come times you have to hold your child accountable for choices they make and issue a punishment, even if that is only so much as to apologize to the harmed party and take actions to make it right.

Role-play decision-making scenarios

One great way to help your teen make choices is to role-play decisions with them. This allows your teen to look at the possibilities and outcomes of their choices and the different ways they make them.

This is a great way to help make it easier for them to see all sides of the situation before making a big choice. Over time they will learn to do this in their heads, which can make for much better decision-making.

Celebrate responsible decision-making

When your teen makes a good decision, make sure you point out this and celebrate their success. By giving your teen positive reinforcement and validation, you help them see where they went right, and in turn, they will continue to make responsible decisions in the long run.

This can be difficult if the decisions they made leading up to the right one were poor choices, such as they went to a party without permission but called you to get them when things started to go wrong.

Praise them for calling you for help and making the hard and responsible choice. Let natural consequences that took place handle the punishment.

Remember that giving your teen the freedom to make choices and fail may be a bit scary, but allowing them to learn the importance of making the right choices now can help them thrive when they are older.

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