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But everybody’s doin' it: Talking to teens about decision making

This fact sheet is part of the Teen talk: a survival guide for parents of teenagers series.

Teens make decisions based on two important questions:

  • What do my friends think?
  • Will it be fun?

Your teen’s idea of fun and his perceptions of the level of risk involved determine whether he will indulge in risky behaviors. These include drinking alcohol, doing drugs, or having unprotected sex.

For example, your teen is probably well aware that getting drunk carries many risks. But to a teenager, having fun and being with friends at the coolest party on Saturday night is more important than the risks.

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Related resources

KidsHealth.org — Where to go for information you can trust about teens that's free of "doctor speak." In English and Spanish.

ParentFurther: A search institute resource for families — An online resource to help families strengthen relationships through shared activities.

BoysTown.orgBoys Town — Boys Town is home to parenting experts who have developed a wealth of free original content over the years.

Jodi Dworkin, Extension specialist and associate professor in family social science

Revised 2015

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