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Saturday 24.03.2018 | Name days: Kazimirs, Izidors

Experts explain why a teenager’s «I don’t know» is so dangerous

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUMost often we say things like «I don’t know» because we are afraid of making choices. Reaching their teens, youngsters become more independent, and the inability to make responsible decisions and say «no» can have serious consequences, says psychologist Sabine Vilcina and youth motivation programme «MOT. Izvēlies drosmi!» manager Ilze Paidere-Stake.

Experts explain that children are not born with the ability to make brave and conscious decisions – «it is a trait that can and should be trained, especially in the teenage period, when the person experiences big changes.»

Education psychologist Sabina Vilcina explains: «12 to 15 years is the age at which teenagers want to become independent from their parents. They start making important decisions about their lives – in relation to school, for example, doing or not doing homework, coming or not coming to lessons, as well as decide on spending their free time.»

Vilcina notes that two dangerous factors in making decisions is leaning towards stimulating experiences, which can lead to reckless actions, and indecisiveness. Before a teenager becomes able to independently make decisions, it is important to train social and emotional competence in a person. «A teenager has to know and understand his or her own feelings – know why he or she feels this way and not the other and why he or she should act one way and not the other. Teenagers also have to be taught to control their emotions,» says the psychologist.

How to help teenagers make independent decisions?

Adults have to give teenagers opportunities to take the initiative and responsibility. «When planning a family trip somewhere, adults can delegate the organization to their child – let the teenager plan and organize everything on their own. Of course, if their child asks for help, adults should provide reasonable advice. It is important to let teenagers realize their plans – only by learning from mistakes and practice will they be able to learn independence and responsible behaviour,» says the psychologist.

She continues: «Understanding one’s emotions and the decision-making process as a whole provides teenagers the freedom of making conscious decisions, which helps later on in life and prevents impulsive, automatic behaviour.»

Education psychologists also says that parents and teachers form a platform that helps teenagers understand the art of brae and responsible decision making. This is why it is important to teach it in school. «One method for looking for solutions is allowing a teenager pick from multiple alternatives. Accepting the teenager’s choice is highly important – even if the choice does not fit parents’ or teachers’ personal ambitions and vision,» VIlcina explains.

«Bravery to live should be trained,» says manager of «MOT. Izvēlies drosmi!» Paidere-Stake.

«We all live and learn, but each person’s experience differs, as do our looks and behaviour. Teenagers gradually start understanding that the choice is in their hands. They also learn as they go forward what society they want to live in and how they should go about making their lives, because often following the herd leads us in the wrong direction,» says the association’s head.

«A lack of courage prevents teenagers from believing in themselves, picking a goal and gain success in life. Understanding the method behind conscious and responsible decision-making and the skill to create the life one wishes to have are two cornerstones for having a happy life,» says the representative of the association.


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