In the past, your son’s confusion was weather to wear a red or blue t-shirt? Playing by train or by car? These days, your son is now in adolescence, facing more serious decisions and needs your advice and help. Of these important decisions:
- How to choose his friends? How will they affect his life and decisions?
- How to deal with the pressures he finds from friends?
- How does he deal with bullying, his classmates who harass him at school?
- Smoking, drugs and alcohol.
- Studying and grades.
- Relationship with God, family and society.
- His goal in life and aspirations.
- Decisions of collage and job.
Solid ground for strong relationship and mutual trust
Such decisions will affect his or her life and future, and he must make a decision about him at the age of 13 or 17. Is he already capable of bearing this responsibility? Research confirms that adolescents at this stage do not have the mental or physical ability to make rational decisions under psychological pressure, but at the same time it will not be useful to remain silent as you control their life and fateful decisions without asking them. There is a fine line between control and the support you give your child during all his crucial decisions. Even easier, you must first build a bridge of trust between you and your son through the following steps:
- Continuous talking
Do not expect your son to come to you asking for help and all the dialogues between you are only screaming and complaining. Build your relationship with your son on the basis of love and mutual comfort in speech, build it early while he’s young. Tell him an example of your day and ask him about his day, ask him about his interests and share it as much as possible, and talk to him about your interest and share it with him too. Most importantly is to always find you listening when he needs to talk to you. Listen carefully, really listen, and do not fake listening to him while you concentrate on washing dishes or preparing dinner. Give him all your attention.
- Do not judge him
In adolescence, the taste of children is different from your taste. You may find your son’s haircut ugly, but he does not see it that way so as his friends and so is the fashion this year. In this case do not always feel that you reject his taste, do not look at him up and down and say that it’s ugly. You can express your opinion but do not provoke him, as he always looks to admire you.
- Be a role model
Do you know that your son always looks up to you?! Watch you, and take care of your opinion and actions. It makes no sense to tell him that smoking is harmful to his health and you smoke two packs a day. Our children look at our choices in life and when the time comes they will be affected in one way or another. They may even choose a job that fascinates us as parents and makes us proud of them. So, from the start, you have to be an example for him to follow. Do not be shy from talking to your son about your mistakes. Give him the opportunity to learn from you, your choices and your mistakes as well.
How to make a decision
You are now in a good relationship with your son, trust is available, so how do you teach him to make the right decisions? Here are six steps:
- What is the problem?
Identifying the problem is important. For example, “Do I choose the university based on my friends’ presence or not, or on the career I want?”
- List of options
Usually there are several choices and the decision is to choose one, it is important to list all the options, and consider them as varied options and not just black and white, good and bad!
- Advantages and disadvantages
Each option is advantages and has advantages. Let us write then the disadvantages and advantages of each choice and compare them. This stage is important, it is the stage of research and scrutiny and testing those defects and features and think deeply. Your role here is to ask your child questions that open his mind and make him see the big picture and not just to look under his feet.
Decision-making is one of the options available based on a rational comparison between the disadvantages and advantages of this choice. Make sure that your son is comfortable with this decision and is convinced of it.
- Implementation of the decision
Help your son to implement the decision and get the information that helps him to do so too.
- Follow-up to the effects of the decision
It is important to follow the decision, and avoid mistakes that will occur. Expect it to happen, that’s normal. Learning from mistakes is also important. Follow with your son and ask if things are going well and according to plan.
I remind you at the end of this article that there is a fine line between supporting your child in decision-making and controlling it. Be careful to exceed it.