Parents can help by teaching them this four-step process. It’s called SWOT Analysis, for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

Strengths. Have teens start thinking about problems by considering their strengths. What do they do well? This isn’t a time to be modest. Thinking of strengths helps teens feel that they can solve the problems.

Weaknesses. We all have them. Taking a clear-eyed look at them will help your teen head off problems before they get worse. Teens who know they always puts things off can set aside time for a project before the last minute.

Opportunities. Success can lead to success. Teens are more likely to carry out a plan if they can see what lies ahead. “If I get my research paper done before the weekend, I’ll be able to relax with my friends. Otherwise, I’ll have to study and miss the party.”

Threats. There are always obstacles that stand in the way. A friend calls at the last minute. A favorite TV show comes on.

It helps to think about these obstacles before they occur. “I’ll get my mom to answer the phone. That way, I can concentrate on studying. I’ll call my friends back later.”

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