A discerning mind and heart come from a profound knowledge of who God is. To teach teens to judge things in their lives and make moral decisions, encourage them to ask questions of themselves and others, even as you pray for godly wisdom and direction for them.


Use the two scenarios below to begin the discussion about discernment with your teenager:

A boy your daughter barely knows offers her a ride home from school. Discuss the following:

a.    Is getting in the car with him a good or bad idea?

b.    What could be the possible outcomes?

c.    Why do you think we, as your parents, may be concerned with a choice to accept the ride?

Your teen is invited to a friend’s house and knows that alcohol will be present. Discuss the following:

a.    What kinds of temptations will you encounter at such a gathering?

b.    What moral and legal implications are raised by these teen gatherings?

c.    Does your attendance condone these actions or disappoint those who look to your lifestyle for guidance?

Apply it

Discernment can be practiced as you help your teens examine factors that lead to their decisions. Encourage them to apply the following questions to various situations:

  • Have you carefully observed the situation and its implications, not just the moment?
  • Are you using common sense (gut feelings and what you already know), not peer pressure, to arrive at a decision?
  • From your knowledge of the Bible and the Ten Commandments, how does this activity line up?
  • Are you praying for spiritual insight and godly wisdom?
  • From Focus on Your Child’s Teen Phases, August 2008. Published by Focus on the Family*. © 2008 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. International copyright secured. Used by permission. *U.S.A.

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