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Teens and Planning Ahead: It Takes Time

Researchers Find Risky Choices Tied to Still-Developing Capacity to Think Things Through

Teens & Planning Ahead: Perspective

The study findings reflect clinical practice, says Allison Kress, PsyD, a psychologist in Laguna Niguel, Calif.

"Although teenagers may be as intelligent as adults, oftentimes their desire for risk taking and instant gratification dilutes their ability to use forward thinking in situations," she says. She reviewed the findings for WebMD.

Parents can help, she says, by telling their teens how they go about making decisions in their own life.

For teens, she suggests the 20-second rule. "Before making a decision that could impact your life, take a deep breath and think it through for a minimum of 20 seconds. Ask yourself, 'What are the positive and negative consequences of this decision? Is it really worth it in the long run? Is this the kind of person I am and want to be?'"

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