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We meet many families that have gone through much worry and grief because of a single bad decision that one of their children made. Kids get blindsided by peer pressure that they had not anticipated or prepared for. The best way to prevent this from happening is to work with young children (from about age 8 to 14) on making their own list of “Decisions in Advance.”

Set up a special page in their journal with that title at the top and ask the child what kind of decisions he can make right now, even though she has not faced them yet. Kids will come up with things like “I will never smoke” or “I will graduate from college” or “I won’t ride in a car with a driver who has been drinking.” Before letting the child write down any advance decision, do some role-playing where you imagine a situation a few years down the road where there is a lot of peer pressure regarding that choice. Ask the child exactly what he would say or do in that situation. When she has really thought it through, she can write it down and date it and sign it on her list of decisions in advance.

For additional detail on how to do this:

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