Dog with red goggles riding in a car with his head out the window. "Make good choices" parents often call out to their children as they head out with friends.
“Make good choices!” parents often call out to their children as they sprint out the door to eagerly awaiting friends.


Throughout childhood, parents lecture, I mean talk, to their kids about making good choices. These deep, meaningful conversations typically consist of three words – “Make good choices!”- as their child barrels out of the house and into the car with friends – off to unforeseen adventures at the mall. However, one day the kids will fly the coop – the decision-making lessons they learn at home will carry over into the next phase of their journey.

When in college, children are no longer accountable to their parents on a daily basis; the decisions they make are theirs alone.

Parents will not be there to check for alcohol on their breath – disguised as a good-night kiss.

Sputtering an awkward explanation for a condom found in their jeans pocket will no longer be an issue.

Mom and Dad will no longer bear witness to the completion – or lack thereof – of homework assignments.

They will no longer hear their parents shout, “Make good choices!”


Making good choices require boundaries, particularly in high school.


Keep kissing your children. If you happen to get a whiff of something unsavory, this is the time to discuss the effects of alcohol on sexual decision-making, among other drug and alcohol related topics.

Ask them about the found condom; what a great opportunity to talk about respect and relationships. This is not the time to shame or lecture them.

It is easy to feel frustration when children choose to ignore school assignments. Find out why they are not completing the work. Perhaps they don’t understand the assignment. Perhaps they are overwhelmed and do not know where to begin. Perhaps it is as simple as needing a pair of reading glasses. Do not assume your child is merely lazy. Developing good study skills now will help bring about success in college.

Allow your children the space to make mistakes while in high school.


Certainly, do not hover like a helicopter. Rather be a presence in the background. Let them know you are there for them and step in when needed, but they gotta figure out some of this stuff on their own. By the time they are in college, they will have the basic decision-making skills to help them resolve the daily issues life throws at them. (No worries, they will still call you for advice resolving big complications that perplex them; typically it is their dwindling bank account.)


African-american mother and son. Mom looks perplexed, son is shrugging shoulders in the background because bank account is empty.