For example, a middle schooler who tries smoking might think, “This will make me look cool,” instead of, “I could get lung cancer.”

Here are some ways to help middle schoolers think ahead:

• Discuss consequences. Help your child think about the short- and long-term results of his actions. What if he cheated on a test? What if he studied an extra 15 minutes a night?

• Explain your expectations. Tell your child exactly what you want her to do. “I expect you to finish your homework before watching TV.” Set clear expectations about grades, chores, behavior and other important things.

• Discipline consistently. Praise your child when he follows rules, and enforce consequences when he misbehaves. This will remind him to think about the effects of his behavior.

• Practice planning. Encourage your child to use calendars and to-do lists to help her plan ahead. Show her how to break large projects into small parts she can do over time.

• Talk about the future. Ask your child about his hopes and dreams. Think of ways he can work toward them now.

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