A simple outline for teaching your teen responsible decision-making:
- Define the goal or outcome
- Ask how to achieve the goal
- Help them to implement their plan
- Assess together whether the strategy is working
Tips for listening without judgment:
- Ask your teen to define the problem rather than telling them what you see as the problem.
- If the problem is a big one (I hate my life!), help to break it down into something manageable and tangible (I don’t have any fun plans for this weekend.)
- Ask what is the problem.
- Brainstorm solutions. The key to brainstorming is that there is not wrong answer. Just let all the ideas flow for five minutes, then evaluate the ideas and eliminate those that don’t work.
- You, as the parent, are the one with the better developed executive functioning. Have follow-up conversations to make sure your teen is taking action. Discuss any modifications to the original plan. Praise your teen’s efforts. Keep the conversation going until each party is satisfied. There is a difference between win-win and compromise.