Studies have consistently shown that helping others reach their own conclusions about the pros and cons of different alternatives are more effective than telling them what is right and wrong. Your children are no different in that way. GOING ALONG WITH A GROUP Teens include others in their problem solving. If their peers do something, it makes the behavior seem more okay. Teens are less likely to rely on their own standards and values, and may justify decisions by saying, “but everyone is doing it.” Teens often believe they should be excused for misbehavior if they had not planned to do something wrong. They may say, “We did not mean to drink; things just happened.” Again, you can help them with their thinking and planning by asking them questions starting with how , what , and why . “How would you handle a situation where other kids, including some of your friends, drank alcohol or used marijuana at a party or friend’s house?” “What things could you do?” Instead of forcing advice on an unreceptive teen, explain that you respect his or her decisions but as a parent you care and would like to discuss the situation. their thinking and planning skills.

As a parent, your role is to help them develop and learn how to use information to think and make plans. Use questions that start with how, what, and why to help develop their thinking and planning skills. TIP


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