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Positive Values Teens Need (part 2)

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More on youth development and the 40 Developmental Assets needed by 12 to 18 year olds, as described by the Search Institute.

3) Integrity: where teens act on their convictions and stand up for their beliefs.
Defending personal values may sometimes mean your teens are on the receiving end of intolerant or belittling responses from their friends or acquaintances. Your support is crucial when this happens.

4) Honesty: where teens “tell the truth even when it is not easy.”
Realize that asking demanding questions (“Did you throw that at your sister?”), when you already know the answer, may corner them into lies if they think you might be fooled (“No, I dropped it and it hit her.”)

Live honestly, even when it’s “no big deal”. Set an example of integrity by actions such as returning extra change when you are given too much, playing fair, owning up to fibs or made-up excuses.

Make it a game to find dishonesty in advertising. Discuss why companies might want to mislead people or hide some information.

When your children are honest with you about problems, concerns, or sensitive topics, praise them, even if you don’t like what you have been told. Separate the good action of their honesty from the other issues you may have to deal with.

Keep in mind that kids usually lie because it feels safer than telling the truth. If you suspect your child is lying, try to get at the reason. Say, for example, “I’m having a hard time believing this story, did something happen that you’re afraid to tell me?” Or, “There seems to be more to this than what you’re saying, what else is bothering you?”

Author

Gary L. Hopkins, MD, DrPH, MPH is currently an associate research professor at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, Michigan where he is also associate director of the Institute for Prevention of Addictions, Director of the Center for Prevention Research and Director of the Center for Media Impact Research.