With consideration of adolescent brain development, how can one help teens and adults get through through adolescent years without the risk of long term affects of poor choices.
As a parent and educator, this is a million dollar question. Helping teens get through their adolescent years without long term effects from poor choices requires caring adults, people who will listen to teens, advice from those who have suffered ill consequences if the teens will listen to them, and constant efforts to offer opportunities which are positive. In some states or counties, if a teen has had problems, an alternative to real court is offered. For example, in some schools, a trial by peers is offered to correct the offense, learn what to do instead of the problem action, and the student stays in school with a clean record and yet does restitution. The most effective way to help teens is to have an adult who cares what happens to them, AND who will tell them. Opportunities for camps which are academic, musical, athletic, or simply a camp to teach outdoor skills while learning life skills make a big difference in teen lives. If teens make mistakes, they need to know it is what they do with the mistake which will change the outcome from negative to positive.