Arthur C Woods
4 min readNov 2, 2021

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The W.H.O.L.E. Decision Making Framework for Teens ™

As parents, I’m sure you remember your teenage years. It was a time of uncertainly — a time of exploration — and a time of opportunities (some good / some bad). Well, as you probably already know, your teenager is now experiencing their own set of opportunities. They are regularly in positions to make decisions that could have lasting consequences (positive or negative) on their life. It’s for that reason I created the W.H.O.L.E Decision Making Framework for Teens ™. This is a simple to use tool that you, as parents, can teach your teenage son or daughter to help them discern the right steps for decisions they have to make. The frame work includes 5 thought provoking questions designed to help teenagers think deeply about their decisions.

Here are those 5 questions . . .

- IS IT WISE? -

Sometimes it feels like wisdom is in short supply these days. But wisdom — true wisdom — is perhaps one of the greatest traits a person can possess. In fact, was it not the ancient king of Israel who asked God for wisdom instead of all the treasures of the world. Solomon clearly knew there was something special about wisdom. Wisdom is more than simply intelligence, but rather it’s the learned ability to recognize the full potential of a situation and to make an informed decision based on that potential. So perhaps the first question our teens should be asking, as they are contemplating a decision is, “Is it the wise thing to do?”

- IS IT HONORING (To God)? -

If you are a person of faith, and if you want your teen to also be a person of faith, having them ask themselves this question is important. Is the decision I’m looking to make going to be honoring to God? Through prayer, reading and meditation, your teenager can begin to develop a greater awareness of God’s will and what it looks like to truly honor Him with their decision making. To those families who embrace a spiritual component to life, this question is huge!

- IS IT OBEDIENT (To Parents)? -

Teenagers, especially those that are living at home, are still very much under the leadership and guidance of their parents. Before a teen makes a decision they should be asking themselves “Would my parents want me to do this?” And if they are not sure, that provides them with a great opportunity to open up a conversation with you about that topic. Be willing to engage with your teenager as objectively as possible. Yes, share your opinion with them, but also be willing to seriously consider their opinions as well.

- IS IT LEGAL? -

As you communicate this one to your teenager, you want to use some caution. While this is an important question for them to ask, they also have to understand that just because something is legal, that does not necessarily mean that it is the right thing to do. That said, if something is not legal, then they should most likely avoid that activity. Your teen should definitely take in to consideration the potential legal implications (if any) to the decision they are looking to make, but this should only be a part of their overall decision making process.

- IS IT ENCOURAGING (To Others)? -

We live in a world that tends to be very negative and quite discouraging at times. What could it look like if your teenager was intentional about making decisions that were kind and encouraging to others. This may not apply to every decision they have to make, but how amazing could it be if they got in the habit of asking “Is this encouraging?” before making a decision? For that matter I’m sure all of us (Including me) could benefit from asking that same question ourselves.

There are certainly other questions a teenager could potentially ask themselves, but these 5 are a great starting point for any teen who is truly interested in making great decisions.

Good luck in your conversations with your teens!

by Arthur C Woods, M.A.
Teen Life Coach

Arthur C Woods Coaching exists to partner with parents in helping their teens develop Wisdom, Confidence and Intentionality in life. Schedule a free consultation call with Arthur at www.ArthurCWoodsCoaching.com. Let him show you how he can strategically help your teenager in a safe, virtual, 1:1 coaching experience.

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Arthur C Woods

I help students become extraordinary leaders, so they can influence and inspire their generation.