The teenage years or the tween years are very important for any child as this is the age when they learn to become a decision-maker. We must understand that we are presented with choices every day but the wisdom to choose correctly sets in from the tween years. As the kids mature over the years, so do the options open to them. They go past the stage when they need to choose between the different flavors of ice-creams; they now decide on the type of friends they want to have, which courses to take and a lot of other good choices. The process of decision making is very crucial as the decisions taken by the children will dictate the path that their career or life will take. They need to judge the risks and rewards of the choices that they make in the short and long-term. Talking to Tweens about Good Choices has never been more imporant than now!
Why making a good choice is so difficult?
Being a tween in today’s world is never easy. The advancements of technology mean that teenagers today are facing more complex issues that the previous generations never had to deal with. There is always something called peer pressure and apart from that the teens also need to contend with online dangers which can have telling effects on the mental and physical health of a tween.
We must remember that we are living in a world that insists on praising the wrong and shunning the right thereby giving us a clear idea as to how confusing and difficult it is for teens to make great choices. The tween is continuously facing peer pressure to experiment with different vices like alcohol and drugs and needless to say that a tween needs the guidance of his/her parents more than ever.
If you want to be known as a good and supporting parent then you must speak and teach your tween how to prioritize and make good choices even though it will not be the most popular thing to do in many cases.
Talking to tweens about good choices
Learning how to make good choices requires a lot of practice – the more you make good choices, the better you will become at it. Parents should go the extra mile to teach the tweens the tricks of decision-making without depriving them of any decision-making power or making the mistake of making decisions for them. Here are a few tips on how to talk to tweens about good choices –
Talk directly to the teen about choices. Try to initiate a conversation on what constitutes good choices. Sometimes teens run out of ideas in certain situations; so it is very important to make the kids understand that they need to see certain things from a different perspective and then only can they come up with smarter alternatives.
When the tweens are speaking with you, you must listen to them with full intent. We must understand that listening to the tween is just as important as speaking to them and when you actively listen to them without displaying any over-reaction or judgment then it helps to validate their feelings. The tween feels that his/her opinion is important to us.
As a parent, your job is to help them identify and compare the different outcome of their decisions. They must learn to anticipate the consequences of their decisions so that they can make good choices in life. They must understand how a particular choice can or may adversely affect their life. For example, if your teen chooses to take alcohol then that might affect his chances in the school football team.
The parent is expected to respect the choices that the tween makes. Yes, you may not agree with his/her decisions but you need to give them enough space to make their choices, make mistakes and learn from those mistakes. This will help them to think for themselves and even become confident in the process of decision making.
When your child reaches the tween years, it is time to involve them in family decisions too. They can always voice their opinions but you should always encourage your tween to make decisions that will affect the entire family. This will help them to boost their confidence and self-esteem and also give them the much-needed practice for the adult years.
The tween needs unconditional love and support from his/her parents at all times. As they grow older their dependence on the parents decreases but they still see them as the sounding board. They are sure to make some bad choices which will backfire in their faces but one must encourage them to make an attempt to make good choices at all times. The teen should be made aware that his/her parents are with him/her at all times and that they will always get support from their parents.
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