Decision Making | How to Help Your Teen Make Good Choices

instruction manual
How to Help Teens Make Wise Choices

Teenagers often have difficulty making decisions. Parenting is about guiding our children to make wise decisions, but knowing when and how much guidance to provide can be difficult. As a parent, you can help your teen develop good decision-making skills by taking practical steps.


Start Early!

Discuss topics like money, relationships, and safety with your child at a young age. When you have these conversations with your child at a young age, you're setting expectations and encouraging them to think through their choices. Even though it is never too early to teach your child to make decisions on their own, a Herofree Parent knows what is beyond their age and experience.


Practice Decision Making

Teach your teen to weigh the pros and cons of different options before making a decision. Ask them questions that will help them understand why one decision is better than another, such as "Is this a decision that could impact your future?" or "Are there any other options available to you and what do those outcomes look like?"


Educate them about the difficulty of making decisions, the need to think about them, and the consequences of their choices. Make thoughtful decisions yourself and discuss your decision-making process with your teen to model the behavior you want them to learn. The most important thing is to help them become comfortable with making uncomfortable decisions.

Allowing your teen to make mistakes and showing them the importance of making an effort can help them practice their problem-solving skills. If teens understand that their actions have consequences, mistakes can be an effective learning tool.


Be Realistic With Your Expectations

As parents, we should also have realistic expectations about our teens' decision-making ability - remember that learning often involves trial and error! Resist the urge to punish your teen for making a poor decision despite your advice. Use the situation to discuss why the decision was less than ideal and develop strategies to improve decision-making skills.


The Golden Rule of Herofree Parenting

Teenagers must make their own decisions. No matter how hard this is for us as parents, we can't overstep our boundaries here. Give them options, teach them problem-solving frameworks like FBI, and stand back. The Hero Parent wants to catch them before they hurt themselves. The Herofree Parent knows that mistakes happen, and it is best to teach them to pick themselves up, evaluate what happened, and try again.


When in doubt, remember these three things:

  1. Teens need to learn right from wrong.
  2. Each mistake is an opportunity to build self-confidence and problem-solving skills.
  3. Reinforce positive decision-making behavior. Praise good decisions as much as you criticize poor ones! It will make teens more likely to trust themselves when they face difficult choices if you create an encouraging environment for discussing decisions and consequences.

You are on your way to being a Herofree Parent when your teen believes in themselves.

Learning how to improve your relationship with your teen starts when you become a Herofree Parent.