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How Do I Save My Kids from Bad Choices?

The worst time for kids to make choices is in the midst of peer pressure. Parents can create forward-thinking case studies that help children make important decisions in advance—and write them down and commit to them before the peer pressure comes.

We can 8-14-year-old kids anticipate difficult choices about smoking or drugs, about recreational sex or riding with a drunk driver. We can do this by making use of what every child has—a good imagination. Three steps: 1. Get your child a special diary and designate the last pages for “decisions in advance.” 2. Explain that it is better to think things through before they happen so we are not caught off guard. 3. Ask the child what decisions he or she can make now, even though he has not faced them yet—and have him write those decisions in the journal and date and sign each one. 4. Make up stories or case studies about the child a few years out—describe situations where he will face peer pressure to make a bad choice and ask what he will say or do.

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