This is something I have been teaching my kids since my boys were young.
Let me explain.
Tweens and teens are exploring their environment.
They are trying out new things. They may be changing friend groups.
Our kids are testing their boundaries in this time. They are trying on independence and making decisions on whether they can trust their own choice making.
They will be presented with all kinds of choices that really for the first time they need to make on their own.
It’s the time when their own morals and values may be tested by opportunities being presented.
There is a lot going on during these years.
Teens are going through these huge hormonal shifts, social experimentation and if that wasn’t enough they have crazy amounts of pressure on them.
This is the time where kids go from being close to parents and having a sense of safety and belonging to questioning if they fit or belong anywhere.
Keep in mind this could be a different process completely for kids that have gone through trauma events in their own homes or through the foster system. Which will just exacerbate these things further.
Due to all of these changes and knowing how hard things can be in teen years I taught my kids this one really important rule.
Don’t make life choices.
A life choice is anything that can alter the course of your life.
If you make a choice to get into a car with someone who has been drinking or you have been drinking and driving there, is a wreck and someone is killed or injured that will forever change the course of your life.
If you choose to have unprotected sex and get pregnant and impregnate a girl your life will forever be altered. Good or bad it will be different.
If you choose to try a drug once and it doesn’t work well with your brain chemistry you could end up with multiple life altering things showing up such as schizophrenia for life.
Making these kind of life choices you can’t go back and change.
I always expected my kids to make mistakes and take some risks. My request has always been that they think about whether it could be a life choice or if it’s just something that they may end up in trouble for but likely won’t cause harm to themselves or others.
My sons are 23 and 24 now and still to this day when we hang up the phone I tell them I love them and don’t make life choices. They always respond “no mom, no life choices”
It’s something so simple to explain to your kids through communication that could be extremely powerful in getting them through tough years.