Life Skills to Build this Summer: Thoughtful Decision Making and Effective Communication (part 3)

by | Jun 3, 2024 | Teenagers | 0 comments

Thoughtful decision-making and effective communication are two life skills that help your daughter navigate life well.  Both are critical to your daughter’s ability to form healthy relationships, stay aligned with her values, and achieve her goals.


During summer, your daughter is likely to be more social and free from the responsibilities of school.  It presents a perfect opportunity to focus on teaching her decision-making and communication skills. 


Promoting Thoughtful Decision Making 


  • Talk about what it means to make values-based decisions. As your teen’s value system develops, it’s important to have conversations about how values inform decisions. You can start by sharing your own values and how they have helped you make decisions.  When your teenage daughter is facing an important or difficult decision, help her connect with her values by asking, What’s most important to you now? Find and name the value that is embedded in her answer.   Then ask, What choices do you have that will support that value? 
  • Model and teach your daughter this decision-making framework:

– Identify a desired outcome -What do you really want? What do the others involved want?

– Consider what’s in your control and out of your control- Is there something you can do to change the situation? To get what you really want?

 If yes…

  1. Identify small steps- What is one thing you can do today that will help you get what you want or will change the situation?
  2. Make a plan- When can you take action? What else needs to happen? Do you need to get anyone else involved? What support do you need?
  3. Take action- This is when our teen needs encouragement- I believe in you.  You are a courageous person and can do this, even if it feels hard.
  4. Reflect– How are things going? What is changing? What are you doing to promote that change?

If no…

  1. Identify alternatives- Since you can’t do anything about —, is there another way to think about it so you don’t feel so –—-?
  2.  Comfort and validate- I understand this is really hard.  It makes sense that you are upset. 



Teach Effective Communication


  • Be an effective communicator with your teen. Listen with a desire to understand. Ask open-ended questions that encourage reflection and meaningful dialogue.  Encourage patient conversations, where there is time to process feelings, reflect on ideal outcomes or solutions, and tap into a helpful perspective. 
  • Model thoughtful conflict resolution.  Take a step back when you need to calm down. Maintain an open mind and willingness to compromise. Always keep in mind what is most important: your relationship with your teen and the development of her positive communication skills.
  • Teach empathy.   Empathy means paying attention to the needs and feelings of others.  When you ask your daughter questions like, What do you think it is like for —-?   
  • By providing opportunities for her to learn about people outside her bubble through volunteering, reading books about other cultures, watching movies, and even following people of different backgrounds on social media, you are supporting the development of her understanding and awareness of others.
  • Practice empathy with your teen. Listen to her point of view and allow her to have a different opinion.   Show you are listening by saying, What I think I understand is…. Is that right?   If she expresses a different point of view, say, I can see why you look at things this way, and it makes sense.  I have a different perspective. Remember, when you do this for her, you are teaching her how to do it with others.


Teen life coaching is another effective way for your daughter to sharpen her decision-making and communication skills. If you are curious about how summer life coaching can reinforce these essential life skills and more, schedule a free discovery call. 



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