I tell my kids a story that places them in a tough moral situation and then offer several options for resolving it.
Advance preparation is the best way to help tweens make good decisions, so I invented a game called “Scenarios.”
We discuss the different alternatives and potential outcomes. The game format gives them freedom to experience their choices and consequences in a safe environment and predetermine real-life decisions without peer pressure or temptation.
One scenario addressed the issue of a new student with special needs. The other kids teased her and anyone who befriended her. When offered their choices, both of my girls decided to stand up to the teasers, be kind to the girl and even invite her to church.
Just a few months later, a hearing-impaired girl joined my daughter’s class. Immediately remembering our game, Emily saw it as an opportunity to apply what she had learned in a scenario, rather than face it as a dilemma in which she had to choose between right and wrong behavior.
The preparation we had done made all the difference.
Nicole O’Dell is the author of several books for tweens. This article originally appeared in the March/April 2010 issue of Thriving Family magazine. Copyright © 2010 by Nicole O'Dell. Used by permission. ThrivingFamily.com.
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