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Positive Values Teens Need (part 3)

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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.

5) Responsibility: where teens accept consequences and take personal responsibility.
Don’t always bail your kids out of trouble. Instead, help them learn from mistakes.

Don’t nag or rescue your kids when they forget to follow through on a responsibility. Let natural consequences occur (e.g., kids who don’t put their dirty clothes in the laundry basket run out of clean clothes to wear).

Talk about the cost of things you buy and how you make decisions about what to spend. If you have a pet, encourage your child to take on more responsibility for pet care as he or she matures.

If your teen is interested in getting a pet, work together to do plenty of research on the care that will be needed for the type of animal you are considering.

6) Restraint: where teens believe it is important to avoid sexual activity and to not use alcohol or other drugs.
Talk with your teens about real-life stuff like drugs, alcohol and sexuality. Let them know your values and expectations.

Talk to your kids—both boys and girls—about how to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. If you don’t, you can be sure someone else will and they may not share your wisdom.

Some teens think that all parties ought to be unsupervised and should involve drinking or other illegal activities in order to be “fun”. Help your children plan safe, enjoyable, “dry” parties at your home or another acceptable location.

Don’t laugh at or glorify the behavior of people who have had too much to drink, even on television or in movies.

Let your teen know that it is vitally important to you that they don’t drink, and that you will always provide a ride home with no-questions-asked-at-the-time if they end up at a party where there is unexpected alcohol.

Seize opportune moments to talk, such as after watching a movie or show together that contains content about sexual relationships (even with shows considered “family” entertainment).

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.