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What decision-making entails

A decision is the process of choosing a direction of activity among a number of alternatives (Thoresen and Mehrens, 1967). When making their final decisions, students find themselves in a critical time period, adolescence, which is typified by rapid and sudden changes in their mental, psycho-emotional and social development. 

Decision-making requires clear incentives, goal setting, emotional maturity, self-knowledge, critical thinking and intellectual maturity. But what could be the goal and incentives of a teenager?

The incentives of teenagers

The personal incentives (goal mapping) of teenagers may be:

  • Internal – Stemming from their own desires, and totally guiding their behaviour and choices.
  • External – Stemming from other people’s desires and affecting their final decisions to a great extent.
  • Conscious – Related to their judgement.
  • Unconscious – Usually external and stemming from the influence of third parties.

Incentives play an important role in teenagers’ career choices:

  • When teenagers are able to identify and defend them, these incentives lead to a positive professional path, even if they are not always associated with their ultimate career choice.
  • Their impact on the teenagers’ career choice depends on their intensity and strength (i.e. whether the incentives are indifferent to them,, moderate, weak, strong or very strong),
  • Incentives are tied to factors such as the work conditions, the pay, the chances of success or failure, the risk, etc.

Goal setting

Teenagers’ goals:

  • Depend on their incentives.
  • Are based on the positive or negative interactions they experience within their environment.
  • Are formulated based on previous experiences.
  • Are continuously re-shaped, depending on the teenagers’ stage of development.
  • Are established when teenagers mature.
  • Are solidified over time.

The tips were compiled by Vicki Pavlidi, Special Educator (MA), Educational Psychologist (MSc, HCPC/UK) and Career Counsellor (MA).