In our Family, we consider Ideas, Opportunities and Risks carefully
- Remember, adolescence is a time of exploration. Your children may be curious to explore new experiences and opportunities, but we need also need to develop safe strategies for thinking ahead and assessing risk. Teach your children to use a self-checking movie camera routine to help anticipate the possible risks associated with their exploration. For example: PAUSE: stop. FAST FORWARD: think about the future consequence. REWIND: make your choice. PLAY: act on it. If your children take an unwise risk, use the technique to help them revisit the choices they had.
- When your children come to you with requests to have or do things we might consider as dangerous or risky, be wary of saying no straight away. Use it as an opportunity to scaffold their risk assessment. For example: “That’s an interesting idea. Are there any hidden risks or dangers we would need to think about before we make a decision? How likely is it that those things could happen? Is there anything you could do to lessen those risks? If those risks did happen how would you respond? Do you think on balance this is a wise thing to do?”
- With your children, explore why adolescents take more risks when they are with their peers. Before an event where you think they may be more influenced to take peer related risks, use the following scaffold to prepare them. “What risks might you and friends take in this situation? If one of you does, what will you do? How might you guide them to be wiser? If they don’t listen, what will you do? Is there anything I can you help you with to prepare you? How will you get help if you need it?”
- When your children suggest ideas and plans that appear unformed, unrealistic or ridiculous – take it as an opportunity to guide them in thinking more strategically or coherently. For example: “That’s an interesting idea, tell me more about it. What do you want to achieve? Are there any obstacles that might stop it from working out? When are you going to do this?”