Teens are involved in making potentially life-changing decisions every day. Be it their career, risk behaviour, or school involvement, the choices teenagers make have the power to influence various aspects of their lives in the future.
Yet, most of them are not equipped with the skills that empower them to make healthy decisions when faced with difficult situations. As a result, they struggle when they have to decide: Should I get a job or pursue higher studies? Should I ask someone for a date? Should I go out with friends to a party where they are going to try questionable items?
According to a study published in NCBI, the steps involved in any decision include:
- Recognising that a decision must be made
- Understanding the goals that one hopes to attain
- Making a list of options
- Determining the consequences – both positive and negative – of each option
- Determining the desirability of each consequence
- Evaluating the likelihood of each consequence
- Integrating all the information
Every step of the process highlights an underlying life skill that one must possess to achieve the final goal of making the right decision. Thus, having good decision-making skills also shows that you possess a wide variety of skills such as intuition, critical thinking, problem-solving, emotional intelligence, leadership, reasoning, and creativity; making it one of the most sought after life skills by employers.
The Standford Children’s Health states that children in the age group 12 to 18 years consistently grow in their thinking capacity, moving from concrete thinking to formal logical operations. In late adolescence, children can use complex thinking to focus on less self-centred concepts and personal decision-making. In addition, they also begin to focus on career decisions and their emerging role in society.
Thus, teenagers, given the confidence and guidance to think rationally, can make the right decisions for themselves.
Parenting Teens: Helping Teens Develop Confidence
As parents of teenagers, we might often think, “Is my teen mature enough to handle important decisions in life?” It might be hard for you as a parent to let go, but it is important to understand that your child’s need for autonomy and responsibility increases later during late adolescence. To mature into responsible adults, they need to learn to make good decisions and benefit from their experiences. However, the shift of responsibility needs to be gradual and depends on the level of maturity of your child.
Individuals develop critical thinking skills by first being confident. The ability to make wise decisions rely on an individual’s confidence level. The same applies to teenagers – They must first be confident in themselves, their judgement, and intelligence, in order to independently and confidently make decisions. Here are a few ways to help your teen develop confidence:
Show love, respect and support
Teenagers need love, respect and support from their parents to become independent. Strong relationships with parents help them feel safe and secure and makes it easier for them to face challenges and overcome them.
Set clear limits and rules
Setting clear family limits and rules about socialising can help your child understand your family values and what you expect from them. Encourage them to have a healthy lifestyle and stay active by exercising.
Empowering Carthusians with Decision-making Skills
The school day at Charterhouse is designed to provide students with opportunities for collaboration and student leadership. Charterhouse Malaysia creates an environment that nurtures independence and responsibility so that when students graduate, they are well prepared for life and beyond. We engage students in projects that encourage them to think and learn independently. How exactly have we managed to do that?
With meticulous planning and great attention to detail, Charterhouse Malaysia successfully gave form to a Future Ready learning programme:
Independent Learning Programme
The Independent Learning Programme (ILP) forms an integral part of our curriculum at Charterhouse Malaysia. Throughout the programme, our learners conduct an Independent Research Project aimed at solving a real-world problem in a community. By devising innovative solutions to social issues, they build confidence and leadership skills and a deeper sense of social responsibility.
We teach students to solve problems using design thinking, an innovative process widely used by scientists, inventors and innovators. It involves five phases – empathise, define, ideate, prototype and test. When students have mastered the skills central to this approach, they can apply them to solve any problem.
Wonder, students engage with a problem or unanswered question;
Explore, they use research skills to consider the barriers to solving the problem;
Apply, they prototype possible solutions;
Value, they refine their work based on feedback from their peers, teachers and the community; and
Exhibit, they launch their finished product.
Individualised Learning and Career Guidance
In addition to an in-depth curriculum, Charterhouse Malaysia classrooms accept no more than 12 students per class. Students get the opportunity of 1-1 coaching sessions with the house tutor to discuss their development as well as fortnightly written feedback from highly experienced subject teachers based on their unique strengths and areas for development.
We also support our students in making important career decisions through University admissions assistance from our specialist University counsellors.
Our unique education programme ensures that Carthusians have a confident take on the world’s complexities and opportunities as they develop an ability to make the right decisions for themselves. Hence, when they graduate, they will have both the academic results and the life skills to achieve their full potential. In short, they will be future-ready, willing to take up the challenges that lie ahead.