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SEL Series – Teen Life

Choices and More Choices

Bootleg, skinny, straight leg jeans; there are so many options! Sheesh! Just choosing a pair of jeans can be overwhelming, however, I believe one of life’s greatest gifts lies in our ability to choose. Our ability to make choices is one which gives us significant power in our lives. However, knowing how to the make the right choices takes practice, discipline, experience and wisdom. When researching information about making correct choices, I found a phenomenal resource that provides key insight surrounding making choices. 

A key highlight from the article suggested that in order to make good choices we must ask ourselves these four simple questions to decide if we are making a “bad” or” good” decision.

Let’s begin!

Is it Kind?

Expecting children to always aim to make decisions that help others and show kindness may be difficult for developing minds. Due to developmental factors children will naturally have waves of up and down (often strong) emotions.  However, talking to your children about making kind choices is important. Helping them understand that their actions and words impact other people’s feelings is important as it instills the importance of empathy, which ultimately will influence the decisions that they make.

Is it Safe?

Do you like riding bikes? Or rock climbing? How about skateboarding? These can be fun activities and ways that you can get exercise and fresh air. Nonetheless, considering the component of safety is important and can help minimize risk of injury to one’s self or others. Before engaging in physical activities ask yourself how you can engage in this activity safely. Avoid being a daredevil and trying things that are beyond your ability when engaging in physical activity.

Peer groups play a significant role in influencing children, consequently, it is important for them to recognize that they should always trust their instincts if something makes them uncomfortable or doesn’t seem right. Often friends may try to tempt you to make bad choices and try to convince you to do something that’s not safe. It’s important for teens to stand up to peer pressure by being strong and knowing that a good friend would not want their friend to participate in anything that isn’t safe.   

Is it Healthy?

While pizza, cake and soda are certainly delicious, will they make your body stronger and healthier? Not at all! Make healthy choices! In terms of your physical health, it’s important to think about what you put in your body, and more importantly, how it impacts your body and overall health. Choose vegetables, fruits, and water to drink to have a healthy body. Our bodies need nutritious food, exercise and lots of water so good choices are vital.  Exercise is important to do each day. Taking a walk or playing outside are great ways to burn calories while keeping fit. Making healthy choices also extends beyond just what we put in our bodies; think about everything you “consume”: social media, TV shows, even the people you hang out with. In each instance, we are consuming information and influence— and it’s important to think about how this impacts your overall health.

Would it Make People Proud?

Making choices can be difficult because of the wide range of choices teens have to consider. One great way to figure out if a choice is appropriate is asking what the people who know and love you, like your parents, teachers or a good friend, think about your choice. If your decision would make them proud then you’re making the right choice. If they would be disappointed with your action, you probably need to think about your choice again.


Tiana Brown is the Assistant Director of the Norwalk Housing Authority Learning Centers


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