Never waste valuable time or mental peace of mind on the affairs of others – that is too high a price to pay. (Robert Greene)

– Desiree Panlilio



As a parent, we may be just as guilty of our teen in going down the rabbit hole of gossip and then making decisions, choices, or assumptions based on the gossip that we have heard. We have stopped using our critical thinking skills and instead focused on the emotions and intrigue of gossip and that has allowed us to make a bad decision or choice. It is human nature, we all fall prey to the fear of missing out to some degree. However, it is the goal to minimize making decisions that are based on emotion and gossip, which usually end up with consequences we did not want to accept or correct.

In the process of developing critical thinking skills it is important to have a series of questions that help to gather information that is correct, verified, and focused on a need that you have. As an adult we often do a few steps without realizing it, as we process information. However, our teen is just learning those skills, and, as a parent, I like reminders.

Question One. What is your plan for…….? I find that in this sentence I define the problem for the teenager. It is also the opportunity to correct my understanding of what the problem is, in case I have not understood the request. It really pulls together the facts but also highlights the areas where more information is needed.

Question Two. How will you……….? Again, this question sparks the discussion and use of the critical thinking steps to work through a problem. It allows for the discussion of many possibilities and the outcomes both good and bad to be discussed. It leads to action.

Question Three. “Where did you get that information……..” Is more a review. Look at all the assumptions, correct or further investigate areas that may be unclear or if the information may be suspect.

Question Four “What if your plan?” The decision of what pathway your teenager is going to follow in this situation. The plan needs to have goals and a way to check personal responsibility and personal accountability of the decision made.

Teenagers are learning this skill and what seems an obvious answer is not obvious and may not be the choice of your teenager. Let your teenager decide what option and goal they want to set. As your teen grows we do not want to “force” our way of thinking but to nurture and encourage their pathway of thinking. It is by having this ability that your teen will make choices that align with their values, their goals and their personal mission statement.