I've been reading 10-10-10 by Suzy Welch, and I'm intrigued by the transformation this method for decision making could bring to parent-child discussions.

Here's the basic idea: When a decision needs to be made, you consider the potential outcome of each option in the future by looking ahead ten minutes, ten months, and ten years. The author explains that the time frames are not meant to be literal, but to represent Now, In A Little While, and Much Later.

Imagine this scenario: you want your teenager to fill out her college applications, which are due next week, and she wants to spend the weekend with her friends at a cabin in the mountains.

Instead of starting a power struggle by insisting that she cannot go, you sit down together at the kitchen table with paper and pencil, and run the decision through a 10-10-10 analysis.

If she goes, in the immediate future she'll be having fun and you'll be worrying about her deadline. In the near future, when she gets back from the trip, she'll be the one who is stressing out.

Much later, she will have recovered from staying up all night to complete her apps, but since the quality of the essays may be less than she's capable of because she was exhausted when she wrote them, she may not get into the school she wanted. Hmm, now we hit something of significance, because you both know how important it is to her to get into a prestigious university.

She's now faced with a conflict between fun in the moment, and its potential impact on something she values even more. And that's exactly where you want her attention to be -- on an INNER conflict, not on arguing with you!

10-10-10 trains the teenage brain to look farther ahead than usual. The beauty of it is that when your teen sees the potential consequences in black and white, she can take full responsibility for her decision.

It may also lead to some creative problem solving - perhaps she will decided to delay her departure until Saturday afternoon and write a few essays before she goes. Either way, it's not about you and your restrictions, it's about the consequences of her choices. And that's exactly what we as parents want to be teaching our kids to consider, right? Job well done.

Want to learn more about 10-10-10? The author's website is www.suzywelch101010.com.

For more information about Karen's parenting consultations, click here or visit www.karenalonge.com

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