Date of this Version



© 2002, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


This publication helps adults develop a strategy to help teens learn how to make good decisions.

Today's youth are put into situations where they must make important, often split-second decisions about things like cigarette or alcohol use, breaking laws, or whether to join in activities that are hurtful - or helpful and respectful - of others. We all hope that our youth will not hesitate to do the right thing in these situations.

Adults can help prepare youth to make good, healthy choices. Kids and teens learn best through practice, so give youth chances to practice making decisions under your guidance. Start by giving kids responsibility for making choices on matters that involve little or no risk, such as how to style their hair, hobbies, etc. As youth grow, they are capable of taking responsibility for decisions on more important matters.

Even preteens will benefit from the experience of working through some tough decisions on their own. Parents should step in if a decision involves serious risk, but otherwise, it is important to let youth take responsibility and experience the consequences, both good and bad, of their choices.

Are you giving youth chances to practice making decisions on their own? Are you giving your youth too much responsibility or freedom before he or she is ready for it? This activity may help you think about these issues.