Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Teens: Where to Find Help During Decision-making

By: Ivana Pejakovic, B.Sc., MA

As a teen you may find decision-making to be difficult, tricky, nerve-racking, and maybe even embarrassing. Some decisions are just plain hard, some require extra knowledge, some require confidence, and others require the ability to resist temptation or pressure.

Whether you are trying to decide what school to go to, whether to get a tattoo/piercing or not, how to deal with a relationship break-up, or even whether you should become sexually active, it is usually a good idea to ask a few people at different stages in their life, with different life experiences.

Remember, you have options and people to turn to:

Friends: For some of your decisions, friends are an excellent choice. They know what is going on in your life, what is trendy, and you may feel they are understanding and non-judgemental. Although these reasons may depict friends as the best people to go to for help, keep in mind your friends are as inexperienced as you for many of your dilemmas (kind of like ‘blind leading the blind’). You can ask them for their opinion but don’t assume they know what they are talking about just because they appear confident. While they want the best for you, they unfortunately, lack the necessary knowledge for many of the tougher decisions.

Your parents: Without a doubt, decision-making is easiest with supportive parents who can advise you on what to do. You can be assured they have your best interest at heart and will be willing to support you in your challenges. Parents are usually one of the best choices for teens. Unfortunately, you may feel your parents’ are unsupportive, or have opinions and advice that is outdated or wrong for you.

Your teachers/ school counsellors: By talking to a favourite teacher or school counsellor you will learn they often have more knowledge than you think. Teachers don’t just know history, math, science and other subjects. You’ll learn that they also have fabulous experiences they can share with you to help you make your decisions. Keep in mind, however, that some teachers have a hard time opening up to students. While they have a right to privacy, it is easier to relate to someone when they tell you about their life.

Life coaches: You may find that advice from those you speak to is biased or perhaps not for you. Some questions can also be embarrassing you may not want to discuss with your parents or other family members. This is a great time to take advantage of a teen life coach. Teen life coaches are unbiased, teach you to make choices based on what is important to you, guide you based on your strengths, and truly care for your well-being.

Yourself: Nobody knows you like you do! After receiving advice from others, carefully consider which options would make you happy. Be aware if you are feeling pressured or if you have negative feelings popping up when you are thinking about certain choices and outcomes. In the end, your decisions should be based on your values and researched facts. You’ll know which decision is best for you based on how you are feeling. A feeling of peace and contentment is usually present when you pick the choice best suited for you.

It is up to you to gather advice or facts from a variety of people to help you make the choices that will increase your happiness, pride, and self-worth. Your choices are ultimately yours to make and you should be careful with who you allow to influence you.

Have more questions about the decisions in your life? Contact Teen Life Coach in Toronto, Ivana Pejakovic, and find out how you can strengthen your decision-making skills.

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