Teens struggle with impulsive decisions and/or choices that are not fully thought out, without regard to potential consequences. Teens have a hard enough time thinking about how their decisions will impact them tomorrow, least of all next week or year. Their frontal lobe doesn’t fully develop until age 26 or 27 and that is where sound decision making occurs.
At Mindful Healing, we teach teens to utilize the acronym ACT to make healthy decisions. ACT is a 3-step process that provides your teen with a blueprint, that if they practice, will actually enable them to evaluate situations in a more mature manner so they can be true to themselves.
A: Accept. Accepting involves breathing, being observant of the present, watching your thoughts and feelings knowing they are not necessarily representative of reality; taking an outside perspective so that you are not looking just at your momentary desire, for example: “I really want to go to that party tonight, but…” (I have homework to do, or I am not comfortable with all the alcohol that will be there, or my friend’s parents won’t be home and I know my parents would be furious if they knew that…)
C: Consider. Consider your values. Which values are related to your situation and how do they apply? (alcohol at the party, not getting my schoolwork done, not following parental guidelines .. for the above example).
T: Take Action. Process mindfully honoring your values (“I can’t go tonight. I have to study for a test.)
At Mindful Healing, we not only teach these skills, but we encourage our teens to Practice! Practice! Practice! This way, when they really need to use it, it won’t be an effort.
If you have a teen who needs support in making effective choices contact us to learn more!