Wise Judgment: A Young Girl’s Decision

A teenage girl is “in love” with her 17-year-old boyfriend. He is encouraging her to have sex with him saying that he will make sure they only have “protected” sex. This scenario is a very common one among teenagers these days. I can especially relate to this scenario because I was once in the same situation. However, this scenario can be applied to the five components of wise judgment to help come up with an answer, or solution, to this situation.

First, there are four components to emotional intelligence: emotional perception and expression, emotional facilitation of thought, emotional understanding, and emotional management. Emotional perception and expression is the ability to recognize your own emotions as well as recognizing other people’s emotions. Also, this component involves the capacity to both express positive and negative emotions accurately. As a teenager, it is very hard to control your emotions. For instance, this teen girl thinks that she is in love with her boyfriend. However, being so young she could be confusing love for lust or even a very strong liking feeling because these feelings are probably new to her. Emotional facilitation of thought, if developed in this teen girl, could use her emotions to harness for more efficient decision-making. However, being a teen, she probably isn’t emotionally mature to us this factor. Emotional understanding involves the ability to label emotions with words, to understand the causes and consequences of the various emotions, and to recognize the relationships between them. Understanding complex and sometimes contradictory feelings and how they change over time is an important dimension of emotional intelligence. But I think this is one of the

hardest components for a teenager to comprehend because teenagers are often emotional without even knowing why they are or why they feel the way they feel. Teens are emotional and impulsive because they don’t know where their feelings are coming from. This girl is considering having sex because she thinks she’s in love and that is the next step in a relationship where you are in love. However, she doesn’t understand the consequences of this emotion of “love”. Lastly, there is emotional management which is self-explanatory and once again difficult for teens to achieve because of the rush of emotions that teens tend to feel at a constant rate, making them extremely difficult to try to manage or control. This makes it more likely for them to act impulsive especially when it comes to sex. One thing leads to another and teens tend to not think about the consequences that come down the road but how they feel at the moment.

The next component is successful intelligence. It is believed that to have successful intelligence you think well in three different ways: analytically, creatively, and practically. Now, creative thinking, to me, is more of a personal trait. However, the other two areas, I believe, portray one’s maturity level. For this scenario of teens having sex, I don’t think that they are thinking practically necessarily because along with their emotions, being irrational is also a trait of teens where they don’t think practically because they are thinking more so with their emotions. This teen is thinking more about her feelings for this guy than practically like the consequences that can come from performing the act of sex. Even if her boyfriend said he would wear a condom, there is still that chance of pregnancy occurring because the number one, 100 percent affective form of birth control is abstinence.

Finally there is wisdom itself. When it comes to being a “wise individual” one must be able to balance a variety of self-interests (intrapersonal) with the interests of other people (interpersonal) and of other aspects of the context in which one lives (extrapersonal) such as one’s environment. I think this aspect of wisdom will deal with the after-math of the decision the teenage girl makes. She will have to make up her mind as to her own interests in either having sex or not which deals with the intrapersonal interests. Then she will also have to factor in when dealing with this decision how it will affect her boyfriend’s interest as well as when dealing with the consequences how it could ultimately affect the interest of her family and friends. Finally, depending on the choice the girl makes, it will affect her environment or her extrapersonal interests. For instance, if she decides not to have sex, she will have to stay away from any and all environments that will influence her to have sex in anyway shape or form to keep her from changing her minds, such as being home alone with her boyfriend or going to a party where drugs and alcohol are present. Whereas if she does decide to have sex, the environments just mentioned would probably be ideal for her.

There are factors to balance when it comes to wisdom: balancing goals and interests, balancing short- and long-term interests, balancing responses to the environment context, and acquiring and using tactic knowledge. When balancing goals and interests, this teenage girl has to factor in the consequences of each choice she has in this situation and what affect it will have on her goals, whether short-term or long-term as well as her interests. For example, if she were to have sex and even with a condom, became pregnant, she would have to re-work all of her goals and interests, having to decide how she’s going to finish high school, if she can still go to college, not being able to play basketball anymore, and so on and so forth. Next, there is balancing short- and long-term interests. This all goes back to teens acting on impulse. Teenagers are especially known for not thinking beyond the moment, with the moment of having sex being the short-term interest, and say gaining a reputation for being a slut because her boyfriend couldn’t keep his mouth shut as a long-term interest. Many different variables could be exchanged in this example of short- and long-term interests when dealing with the sex issue. Balancing responses to the environment context goes back to the situation after she makes the decision. If she decides not to have sex, she will need to stay away from the things that are influencing her to have sex, and if she decides to have sex, she will want to be in those types of environments. Acquiring and using tactic knowledge, if the girl has good tactic knowledge, she may be able to change her boyfriend’s mind on having sex if she doesn’t want to by maybe explaining why she wants to wait and the consequences they may have to deal with if they had sex. However, if she doesn’t have good tactic knowledge, it is more likely than not that she will be talked into doing it.

A teenage girl is “in love” with her 17-year-old boyfriend. He is encouraging
her to have sex with him saying that he will make sure they only have “protected” sex. This situation was me a few years back, if I could go back and make the decision again, I probably would have chosen a very different path. However, when it comes to a solution, if the girl is wise, she will take a step back from the situation to really think and analyze what saying yes would mean and what saying no would mean. It would also help her to decide the best choice for her and stop from rushing into a situation without thinking. My hope for her after going through all these components of wisdom would be for her to wait until she was really in love instead of taking the chance of confusing her emotions and feelings and doing it anyway. My main advice to this young girl would be to take some time and really try to sort out the types of feelings she really has for this boy and are they really worth the risks of having sex.

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