There’re teens who think it’s about getting away with the crime and there’re teens that understand that just because they got away with it doesn’t mean you should of done it. Do you know which teen is yours?

This is an important distinction between two types of moral values in teens. Some teens understand they shouldn’t be doing a certain behavior and these are teens that can more or less regulate their own decisions. They know they shouldn’t be drinking because they’re underage so they opt to be the designated driver. This teen may take some risks, but they may not need to go absolutely crazy. You may find out about their risk taking when you two have coffee years later.

On the other hand there are teens who think that as long as no one finds out, then it’s ok. You always seem to be trying to catch them in the act. Instead of hiring a private investigator your energy may be better spent trying to get them to understand how their actions have a ripple effect. This is the key to gauging this teen’s understanding of what they’re doing. It is important they understand even when they get away with things the ripple effect still occurs. You cheat on an exam and it not only makes you look smarter than you are (they later flunk out of Harvard), but it ruins the curve for others who were better prepared to enter Harvard and meet its challenges. Your teen lies about being able to qualify for a certain discount and the business loses so much money they increase the fee for everyone else.

Part of developing a moral code of conduct is about understanding how your teen exists within the community. Your teen understanding their individual role within the community is what keeps the community safe. This is what makes it so important to get caught and even if they don’t get caught this is what makes it important that they get the lesson some other way and that lesson begins with what they witness in you, their parent.