Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Get your teen to plan for the future.

What you can do

Keep in mind that kids with learning and attention issues often don’t see that they are responsible for their own behavior. They may also have trouble connecting what they do today to what happens tomorrow, let alone a year or 10 years from now.

Help your child think about the future and how it can be affected by the decisions he makes. Make clear that engaging in some types of risky behavior could result in very serious consequences. Get him to take ownership of his behavior.

What you can say

“Jacob, that party you went to last weekend really got out of hand. I know you weren’t directly involved in the fight that broke out. But eight kids were arrested for underage drinking and assault.”

“These kids will have to go to court. They may end up with a record, and some of them could even go to jail. There’s no party that’s fun enough to risk throwing away your future.”

“I trust you, and I know you’re usually pretty levelheaded. But you must never forget that bad decisions can have disastrous results.”

Why this will help

Kids with learning and attention issues often act before they consider the consequences of their behavior. That’s why it’s so important for you to get your child to pause and think about the future. You are your child’s most important role model and his best defense against risky behaviors.

By discussing incidents that occur in his circle of friends or in the larger community, you can help your child come up with ways to avoid high-risk activities.

Talking frequently about the consequences will help him keep these strategies in mind. You may even want to consider posting on his bedroom door or on the dashboard of the family car a small sign that says “Make good decisions.”

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