Good decision making for teens

Stephen Wallace, MS Ed Adolescent Psychologist, shares advice for parents on the best method for teaching your teen how to make good decisions and the difference between good and bad decision making
Teaching Your Teenager How To Make Good Decisions
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Good decision making for teens

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Stephen Wallace: It’s really important that the adults in young people’s lives talk to them about decision making. All kinds of decision making. Good decision making and bad decision making. Sometimes we focus too much on the latter than with the former, but it’s really important that young people will hear from the important adult in their lives when they’re making good choices. The choices we want them to make. Usually, the choices they themselves want to make. They need that reinforcement. Not necessarily reward but reinforcement that they’re on the right path. Secondly, of course it’s important that we talk to them about the choices we don’t want them to make. Things like underage drinking, other drug use, bullying, violence, suicide, all of those things we want to prevent. And the power of the conversation is incredible. All the research shows, over and over again that having open, honest dialogue with young people, early and often is the most effective tool at our disposal. In my research I found 4 decision factors that really drive teen decision making. First one is Personal Goals. What goals does the child have for themselves? The second is Potential Outcomes. What might certain choices do to those personal goals in terms of achieving them? The third is Mental States. What about stress or anxiety or boredom or depression? How do those mental states drive certain decisions? And finally, Significant People. What are the adults in the young person’s life want them to do? What decisions do they want them to make?

Stephen Wallace, MS Ed Adolescent Psychologist, shares advice for parents on the best method for teaching your teen how to make good decisions and the difference between good and bad decision making

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Stephen Gray Wallace, MS Ed

School Psychologist & Author

Stephen Gray Wallace, M.S. Ed., is president and director of the Center for Adolescent Research and Education (CARE), a national collaborative of institutions and organizations committed to increasing favorable youth outcomes and reducing risk. He is a consultant to summer camps on staff training and teen leadership programming and has broad experience as a school psychologist and adolescent/family counselor. Stephen is a member of the professional development faculty at the American Academy of Family Physicians and American Camp Association and a parenting expert at kidsinthehouse.com, NBC News Learn and WebMD. He is also an expert partner at RANE (Risk Assistance Network & Exchange) and was national chairman and chief executive officer at SADD for more than 15 years. Additional information about Stephen’s work can be found at StephenGrayWallace.com.

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