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Quick Choices Have Long-Lasting Consequences

May 16, 2018

You may have heard this sentiment before. Have you tried sharing it with your teen only to be met with the most emphatic eye roll possible?  

We know parenting a teenager can be difficult, especially this time of year. In the Midwest, we’ve just made it through an awful winter and we can bet your child is ready to go outside, drive around with their friends, attend prom, and get ready for graduation.

So how do you keep your kids from making reckless decisions when prom and graduation and the summer before college are looming?

One way is to understand what happens in their brains. Research shows that kids aged 12 to 17 years old are significantly less psychosocially mature than young adults. That means they are more likely to make choices on impulse, focus on short-term gains, and have difficulty delaying gratification. Some of you may be saying – DUH!

However, knowing this information can help you help them make better decisions.

Be present. Make sure you’re up-to-date on which events are happening when. If you know that your child is anticipating prom and the events after the dance, listen to what they’re saying. If their expectations lead you to believe risky behavior may occur, talk to them about it.

Present scenarios. Ask your teen about their plans for the evening. Then, give them various situations that would require them to make a safe decision. Walk them through their options and talk about it.

Remove themselves. When you’re talking about different scenarios, help them recognize ways they can remove themselves from situations where peer pressure may be prevalent. If they sense something is off, they can go to the bathroom or step outside and text a friend or call a parent.

We know you want your teenager to be safe and enjoy this exciting time in their lives. If you need help starting the conversation, give us a call at CADS.

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CADS offers a variety of substance abuse services focused on support, care, and treatment designed to meet the needs of families and individuals of all age groups in the community.
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