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The Importance of Teachable Moments

Cute siblings with their mother making biscuitsWhat a difficult life a teenager leads today. Are our teens forced to live on the edge at a superficial level with no acceptance and minimal positive affirmation from parents? Is the peer pressure too much? Are they learning to live from the Internet and television with no emphasis on moral values or excellence? Are you comfortable with your current parenting style? Or, do you need to tweak some things? Only you can answer these questions.

Communication is important in the teenage years. Although your teen may pull away from you, he or she still needs direction and discipline. Even the most responsible teen will still need help from his or her parents or caregivers. At this point, you may think there are not enough hours in the day to have all of the talks necessary for every circumstance your teen may face. I want to emphasize these are not one-time, ten-minute conversations but ongoing daily discussions, as certain situations arise. These are called teachable moments.

You could be driving down the road and see teens smoking at a bus stop. Use this time to point out the serious, harmful effects smoking can have on the body, especially over a long period of time. Please understand that scare tactics won’t work. You can’t tell kids not to do something because they will get cancer, heart failure, or another type of disease. Most kids (and adults) think they are invincible and have an “it will never happen to me” attitude. It happens more than you think, which is why it is important to keep open lines of communication with your children, starting at an early age.

Look for those teachable moments every chance you get. Make sure to explain TV commercials and sitcoms. You don’t get to drive off in a fast car if you smoke a cigarette, you won’t look sexy if you drink an alcoholic beverage, and those things that look glamorous on TV can ruin your life.

At this point in their life, they need your unconditional love, support, guidance, and understanding. Be there for them and keep the lines of communication open.

Written by: Michele Sfakianos, RN, BSN, Author

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About the Author

Michele Sfakianos is a registered nurse, award-winning author, speaker and leading authority on parenting.

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