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Talking With Teens About Positive Values: Talk With Your Teen

  • Take advantage of teachable moments. Issues of values and priorities come up every day, at school, with friends, in the media, in the news, and many other places. Whether or not you agree with the values being discussed or promoted in a particular case, use the moment to ask and talk about the values that are at stake and how those values do or don’t reflect your own values and your teen’s values.
  • Use “what if” triggers to stimulate values conversations. Values can be hard to talk about in the abstract. So think of provocative questions and examples that stimulate conversations about what’s important. For example: Imagine that you won a million dollars. What would you do with it? Or: Suppose one of your friends asked you to shoplift a loaf of bread to give to a homeless person. What would you do?
  • Ask about pressure points. Find out if there are areas where your teen feels pressure to shift or ignore values that are important to him or her. Talk about how to resist those pressures, including finding ways to be clear about stating your own values in a manner that is respectful but firm.

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Content created by Office of Adolescent Health
Content last reviewed on July 2, 2019