Teen Challenges: Bad Choices


So far I have covered teen challenges of lying and attitudes.  Now we come to one of the most difficult things for a parent to do…watch their child make bad choices, or to discover the bad choice after the fact.  It is a very helpless feeling.

You like to think that everything that has been taught and modeled to your child would make a difference.  It’s easy to feel like that isn’t true when it all goes south.  But I’m here to tell you that it makes more of a difference than you might imagine.

Think about one of those do-it-yourself projects you might have tackled at one time.  If you’re like me, you sometimes believe that instructions are more of a suggestion than anything else, so you set them aside and attempt to put the hundreds of pieces together.

I did this one time with a bathroom cabinet I had purchased.  It seemed easy enough that I didn’t need the directions.  But then when the doors were swinging the wrong way and I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to get the dowel attached, I realized (too late) how essential those instructions really were.

This is how teenagers can sometimes be.  They have the instructions right there in front of them.  But they are tossed to the side because they would rather attempt things on their own.

It doesn’t mean the instructions were useless.  It just means they are being set aside…for now.

I can’t guarantee you when the teen will decide to come back to those instructions.  It could be right after realizing the error of their way.  But it might not be for a long, long time…well after the instructions have collected dust and yellowed.

Bad choices are unfortunately a part of raising teens.  Thankfully most of those bad decisions won’t be life-altering but there may be some heavy lessons learned.

Don’t wave the instructions in their faces; trying to show them how stupid they were for ignoring them.  But be ready to help them navigate through the consequences of those bad choices.