Making Responsible Decisions

March 11, 2013

            Do you know what takes more young lives each year in the United States?  If you responded "accidents," then you have the correct answer.  The three leading causes of death in the United States for people between ages 15 and 24 are accidents, homicide, and suicide.  Many of these unfortunate incidents could have been avoided by simply following the responsible decision making approach.  This approach includes five questions that can help steer a person to the right choice.  The five questions are:  Is it healthy?, Is it safe?, Is it legal?, Does it show respect for others and myself?, Does it follow my parents' guidelines?  It is important to point out that there isn't a question about what friends may think, or if it is "cool."  These kinds of questions are highly subjective in nature, and may lead a person away from the choice that is best for him or her.  There are lots of situations that teens face each day that can be handled in several ways.  Once person becomes a teenager, he is faced with so many new experiences and responsibilities.  These include, but are not limited to: dating, situations involving alcohol and other substances, and driving or being in vehicles with inexperienced drivers.  Knowing which choice is best in situations like these can sometimes be a staggering task.  This five-question process is designed to help teens navigate through each option and choose the one that is best for their health.  Take the third question "Is it legal?"  If the answer to that question is "no", chances are that choice is not the best one for that individual.  The goal of this method is to find an option to a situation so that all five questions are answer with a "yes".  Teens who stay true to the responsible decision making approach will have a higher chance of living a longer, healthier life.