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Dec 7

Choices Often Make Sense … At The Time

Posted on Friday, December 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

What do you do when you have one agenda, and someone else has another, but you’re supposed to be “on the same page”?

Your parent may be right.
Your parent may be wrong.
Your teen may be realistic.
Your teen may be deluded.

One principle helps me make sense of other people — even very smart people — who make stupid choices.

The principle: Most people do what they believe makes sense.

This weekend teens  will:
– Lie to their parents about where they are going
– Lie to their parents about what they will be doing
– Lie to their parents about where they will spend the night
– Lie to their parents about who they will be with

Because…
– They know their parents would disapprove of the party
– They know their parents would disapprove of the drinking
– They know their parents would disapprove of the coed sleepovers
– They know their parents would disapprove of the drunkenness

What affects my judgment?

Pleasure-seeking and pain-relieving tops my list, how about yours?

What Were They Thinking?

Caveat: While these are sweeping generalities, and do not represent all teens, they are based the lives of teens I’ve known.

Teen has come home drunk.
The teen might be seeking to assert “control” over her choices.

Teen is using marijuana.
The teen might be seeking to relieve stress in his life.

Teen has disengaged from family activities.
Or, more extreme the teen has run away .
The teen might be seeking to demonstrate to himself his autonomy.

Teen is choosing to be sexually active.
The teen might be seeking to compensate for the emotional wounds.

Teen has given up on sports or has lost interest in school.
The teen might be seeking to self-identify goals.

Teen has new friends.
The teen might be seeking to re-invent her public identity.

Teen seems depressed, sleeps a lot.
The teen might be seeking to manage emotional demands.

Teen seems incapable of carrying on a conversation with either parent.
The teen might be seeking to safeguard his privacy.

Teen is cutting or other self-injurious behaviors.
The teen might be seeking to manage her emotional pain.

Teen seems to have no respect for authority figures.
The teen might be seeking to guard herself from others who would disempower or threaten her.

It’s like all pain-reducing behaviors there is sometimes a short-term benefit with a long-term consequence.

Their choices, like yours and mine, often make sense … at the moment of decision.

More tomorrow.

Note: The photo is not of anyone I know, nor do I intend them any harm or dishonor. The photo was freely available on www.sxc.hu, and served to illustrate today’s topic.

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