One of the hardest things for any parent to do is to watch their child make bad choices in life. Many of the bad choices we make involve an instant reward, according to Psychology Today.
Some of the bad choices discussed in the article on the Psychology Today website include anger, overeating, smoking, getting into debt and not taking care of ourselves.
Instant gratification is a way of life for many Americans. Our teens follow the example of their elders well, living life for the moment instead of with an eye toward the future.
The path ahead is often unclear and it’s not always easy to make the right decision, regardless of your age or experience.
Unlike a trail in the woods, there are no signs pointing the way in the right direction. Many of life’s decisions are more like an intersection in the middle of nowhere.
Even some choices that seem like good ideas at the time can carry bad consequences.
As an example, at the age of 17, I made a choice to marry a man who lived 1,100 miles from where I lived with my parents.
Without that choice, I wouldn’t be the mother of three wonderful children, so I don’t regret the choice I made.
Along with that choice came the reality of being far away from my parents and siblings. Over the years, I’ve missed birthdays, holiday celebrations and other special times with my family of origin because of the decision I made.
One of the important choices teens have to make is whether or not to attend college. Parents can advise their teen about the pros and cons of this decision, but the teen has to make the decision.
Parents all hope for their children to make good choices; however, the decision making process is owned by the child.
Although parents can’t make decisions for their kids, part of a parent’s job is to serve as a mentor, advising kids about the consequences of their actions.
Sharing choices you made and the consequences that followed may help your child avoid making bad choices. On the other hand, your child may decide that it all worked out okay for you and make the same or similar choices.
One of the best ways to help kids make choices in life is to teach them to compare the pros and cons of each major decision they face.
From choosing a sport to play to deciding on a college, writing down the good and bad parts of each choice help kids make a decision based on reality rather than feelings.
Decision making isn’t always easy. People of all ages make bad choices that result in unwanted consequences.
Parents teaching kids how to weigh their choices will go a long way toward the kids making good choices later in life.