Teen Challenge - Three Influencers on Teen Choices

Good Morning! Here's the Monday Morning Blog!


How did things go last week? Were you able to chat with the teen or young adult in your life? If you are the teen or young adult, did you check in with that adult in your life? They would be happy if you did!


Jim and our young adult sons were out of town over the weekend deer hunting. Do you do any annual or recurring events with your teens? Not only is it something for both of you to look forward to, but is a great way to share some time together.


November's Theme - Making Choices

This month's theme is making choices. It's something that we do everyday which determines our life direction. We learn from all of our choices, whether those choices are good or bad for us. Sometimes choices are made without all of the correct information, they are made based on assumptions about a situation or a person.

Teens make choices from their point of life experience. They rely on people close to them to help them make their choices, whether they are true to what they really want or need for themselves. Three of the main influencers on their choices are the adults in their life, peers and internet searches.


Influencer One: Adults in their lives

As much as teens try and do things on their own, they need to have some direction from those who have been in their shoes before. Typically, adults have navigated the same choices that teens are trying to make. These adults may be parents, older siblings and other family members.


The main motivator for who they will chose from this group to help them will be who they feel comfortable with and have built trust with. They are looking to tap into those life experiences of the ones who have been there before. These influencers probably have intimate knowledge of the teen coming to them for help, so they can guide them. Sometimes this guiding can turn into what they want for the teen and not what is best for them. Or, they may try to protect them from getting hurt by advising them to do a less risky option.


Influencer Two: Their Peers

Teens tend to trust their peers more than adults. They feel better about confiding in them.


When the peers are chosen for help with a choice, the friend's experience level may be very similar to the teen making the choice. The peer may only be able to confirm the choice the teen is making and not be able to provide many if any reasons to change their mind, unless it is something that is obviously a good thing for them to do or a bad thing for them. Sometimes this can backfire and turn into peers daring the teen to do something risky to prove they aren't scared to do it or to make fools out of themselves.


Unlike when the adults are involved in the choice, peers may direct them more based on what is good or bad for them, since they may have a better idea of the type of person the teen really is.


Influencer Three: Internet Searches

What do we do when we need an answer to something? We will take our search to the internet. So, why would teens be any different about looking for answers?


There are so many sites on the internet. And for every site there is, there may be a different answer to the question being asked. So, a teen may be able to find an answer, but how reliable is the information being provided? And where are they finding it? This is the scariest part of using this option to make choices from. And this may be an answer being used frequently by teens to make their choices.


With the lack life experience that teens have, they may not be able to sort out what is good information and what isn't from what is being presented to them.


Which influencer is best?

Each of the influencers list above can be a great source of information.

  • Adults in a teens life have the teens best interests at heart, so may know the most about them to make a good decision. But they may try to protect them from consequences, so they may be too protective.

  • Peers in a teen's life may do more to agree with a decision due to lack of life experience and wanting to support their friend. Or, they may dare their peer into doing something that may be funny or dangerous to prove they aren't scared of doing it.

  • The internet search is like gambling. Depending on the site they choose to get their information from may determine what they do.

As far as who will have the best information to help the teen make their choice? It is hard to say. But when a teen is making a choice, they need the above influencers to listen. The choice the teen ultimately makes needs to be made from their gut, taking into account what feels right to them, whether the choice is good or bad. Because part of our life journey is learning from the choices we make.


The Hard Way is about making choices

The Hard Way is the first book in The Way Series. It is the story of Paul Jones and his navigating peer pressure to make choices. Pick up a copy and find out what choices he makes and how it affects him and his friends. Click on the link below the photo to get your own copy.

Selma P. Verde - Books


Did you see the New Pages on my website?

Last week, I launched two new pages on my website. One is my Mentor page which has some mentor statements related to this month's theme Making Choices. And the teen resource links that I mention in my monthly Teen Resource post can all be found through a link on the new Mentor page or through its own tab called Resources. Be sure to take a look and let me know what you think!


Have a great week!