Why Teens Know Better but Still make Mistakes

We know our kids and they know better but why then do they make such major mistakes? Studies have found most kids demonstrate an understanding of 'right' and 'wrong' behavior from an early age. But still children and teenagers have been found to be poor decision-makers. What is causing that? Apparently, as their brains are not fully developed until there early 20s, they are more susceptible to feel pressured, stressed or to seek attention from peers.  

Tips on how to help your teen make better decisions…

1. Prep them with possible options—Have conversations where you discuss various scenarios that could lead to a risk, or will require a decision (their friend has been drinking and wants to drive them home, they’re on a date that is moving too fast) to explore the best choices.

2. Encourage them to stop and think—Let them know that when they get into a position where they feel caught up in “a moment” that it is that moment when they should temporarily remove themselves to better make a decision, away from direct pressures (go to the bathroom, make a phone call, text a friend.)

3. Remind them to ask for help—If they don't want to call you they could contact an aunt, or a school counselor or law enforcement.  

 4. Use mistakes as learning opportunities—This doesn’t mean it is time to roll out the “I told you so” lecture. Instead use these experiences to generate calm discussions about where the decision making went wrong, and how to make better choices in the future.


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