Teaching Kids About Tough Decisions

How well are your kids prepared to make tough decisions on their own? Whether you’re a brand-new parent or have a teenager in the house, helping your children learn how to make wise choices is one of the most important things you can do to prepare them to live life as responsible adults after they leave home. What can parents do to better equip their kids for the challenges that await them after high school?

On an episode of the Table Podcast, Darrell Bock and Ben Stuart talked about helping prepare young people for the challenges they will face in their college years. For example, Stuart suggests that parents should help their teenagers develop wisdom by reasoning through life’s challenges before they leave home. But how do you begin?

Getting things started is as simple as asking open ended questions. Here’s how Stuart advises parents and illustrates the need to help teenagers develop wisdom:

What I would encourage them to do is help their child learn how to think things throughlet their young people articulate what’s going on in life, think with them, help them process information and come up with decisions, because that’s what’s going to happen in college.

He illustrates the problem with shielding our children from the influences of the broader culture by referencing a movie called, Hanna. It’s the story of an ex-CIA operative who raises his daughter in the wilderness and trains her to be an assassin. Although this kept her away from the influences of society, Stuart explains that this strategy did not prepare the young woman to respond to real-world challenges:

When they move into society—into the world that he fears the most—with all the social pressures. What you find is, she’s got her Ninja skills and can shoot a gun, but she has no preparation of how to handle society and make decisions. So he’s helped her in no way (to) reason out what people are saying, (or to understand) the philosophy behind it.

In order to truly help children learn how to live life, Stuart notes that parents need to encourage wisdom, helping teenagers analyze the challenges and messages presented to them by the popular culture.

Dr. Darrell Bock agrees that well-intentioned parental management may sometimes go too far, resulting in one of two problems. He observes:

One of the things that happens, at least with a segment of kids, is that their parents have managed their lives so much and in every detail that when the child gets to college and has to make choices, one of two things happens. Either they’re incapacitated – they don’t know how to do it – or they go wild. You know, “All of a sudden I have this freedom I never had before, and I am grabbing it with gusto because I was never given that kind of space when I was growing up.”

Check out this segment of the conversation on the Table Podcast:

One of the most important things parents can do for their children is to help them reason through life’s challenges before they leave home. Listen to the rest of this episode to learn more about preparing your kids for the challenges they will most likely face during their college years: Preparing Students for the Challenges of Life in College

About the Contributors

Mikel Del Rosario

Mikel Del Rosario (ThM, 2016; PhD, 2022) is a Professor of Bible and Theology at Moody Bible Institute. While at DTS, he served as project manager for cultural engagement at the Hendricks Center, producing and hosting The Table podcast. You can find him online at ApologeticsGuy.com, the Apologetics Guy YouTube channel, and The Apologetics Guy Show podcast.