Being a teenager has never been easy. However, advancements in technology mean that teens today are facing a host of issues that previous generations never had to deal with. Other than peer pressure, our teens now have to contend with online dangers which can have adverse effects on their physical and mental health.
Add that to living in a world that insists on praising wrong and shunning right and you begin to get an idea of how difficult and confusing it can be for teens to make good choices. They are continuously facing peer and societal pressure to experiment with drugs, sex, alcohol etc. and need their parents’ guidance more than ever.
Being a good father in today’s world calls for you to teach your teens how to prioritize and stay focused on making good choices even when it might not be the popular thing to do.
Tips to help your teen with responsible choices
Learning how to make good decisions requires practice –the more you do it, the better you become at it. The trick to teaching your kids lies in conveying the skills of good-decision making without trying to take the decision out of your teen’s hands or making the decisions for them.
Here’s how to go about it:
- Talk with your teen about choices. Start a conversation with your teen about what constitutes a good choice. Sometimes teens think they have no choice in certain situations so brainstorm, help them see things from a different perspective and come up with smarter alternatives.
- When they talk to you, listen completely. Listening to your teen can be just as important as talking to them. Actively listening without judgment or overreacting validates their feelings. It makes them feel that their opinions are important.
- Help them identify and compare possible outcomes of their decisions. Part of making good choices lies in anticipating the consequences of your decisions. Encourage your teen to think ahead to what their choices might lead to e.g. how will taking alcohol affect playing on the football team?
- Respect your teen’s choices. While you might not always agree with your teen’s decisions, you have to give them space to make their own choices and mistakes. This is how they’ll learn to think for themselves and become confident decision-makers.
- Involve them in making family decisions. Other than letting them voice their opinions, encourage your teen to participate in making decisions that affect the entire family. This will not only boost their confidence and esteem but also give them good practice for adulthood.
Finally, give your teens your unconditional fatherly love and support. Your teens still need you as a sounding board as they grow older. Sometimes they’ll make poor choices that backfire in their faces but encourage them to keep at it. Make them aware that you’ll always be there to cheer them on and support them in any way you can.