Parenting Coach

Practical ideas for social, emotional and behavioral challenges

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Talk through decision-making.

What you can do

Keep in mind that making decisions and solving problems are essential skills in adolescence and adulthood. Help your child develop these skills by letting him make more decisions.

Rather than telling your child what to do, it’s better to present him with choices you can accept. Ask him to describe the criteria he’s using to make his decision. Talk about how different choices come with different consequences.

What you can say

“Jacob, you need to make a decision about what you want to do this summer. The call is yours, but keep in mind that sitting around all summer watching television won’t do much to help you get into college or get a good job.”

“Can you walk me through the process you’re using to make this decision? I’d like to understand what criteria you’re using to think this through. I don’t want to add to the pressure, but your decision could have an impact on what opportunities are available to you when you finish high school.”

“Is there any information you need to help you make this decision? We’ve talked before about the importance of self-advocacy. If you can speak up and tell me what you need to help you decide what to do this summer, it will help you get better at making decisions in the future.”

Why this will help

Problem-solving is an essential skill that must be practiced. Working on this skill together will help your child develop the language he needs to resolve conflicts and self-advocate in school as well as in social settings.

It’s also crucial for him to learn that decisions come with consequences. As a parent, you want to protect your child and keep him safe. But kids can only learn how important it is to make good decisions by dealing with the consequences of their choices.

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