Risk-taking behaviour is part of teenage life. Karen gives us advice about how to deal with it. It’s worth reminding ourselves that this sort of behaviour may be a sign of depression.
No parent wants to think that their teens are involved in risky behaviors but the truth is this: High-risk behaviors among teenagers are common. Ask any parent who has made it through puberty and they will tell you it was a harrowing experience. Here are the five riskiest behaviors that teenagers participate in:
There’s a reason that laws are being passed that restrict how and when a teenager can drive. Close to 40 percent of adolescent deaths can be attributed to this behavior. Additionally, another startling statistic tells us that of these crashes that involve fatalities, nearly half were the result of impaired driving. If you have a teenager who has recently gotten a driver’s license, it’s important that you impart upon them safe rules of the road.
It’s not that most teens don’t understand the risks that they are taking with their health when they have sexual intercourse; it’s that they don’t think anything will happen to them. This sense of invincibility leads teens to experiment with sex, and often before they are emotionally mature enough to do so. Whether or not you know for sure that your teen is having sex, be sure to discuss STDs, unwanted pregnancy and other implications of this behavior.
Most teenagers aren’t criminal masterminds. Unfortunately, many also get caught up in the thrill of breaking minor laws. Vandalism and petty theft are common among teens. Always know who your teen is hanging out with. If she refuses to tell you, don’t let her leave the house. While there’s nothing wrong with giving your kid her space, that space shouldn’t include not knowing who she spends her time with.
Teens and alcohol consumption is nothing new. No matter what you do, don’t get suckered into being the “cool” parent who provides alcohol at a party. Parents do this thinking that if their children are going to drink, they might as well do it in a safe place. Not only does this give your teenager permission to drink, it puts you in the crosshairs of the law. Providing alcohol to minors is a crime. You’re also criminally liable if any of these teens leave your home behind the wheel of a car.
Teens that aren’t talked to about drugs are more likely to experiment. Don’t be afraid to teach your children about the dangers of drug use. If, at any time, you suspect that your teen is using drugs, ask. It’s far better to have your teenager angry with you than to be forced to place him in rehab. If you know, not suspect, that any of your teen’s friends are using drugs, contact their parents immediately.
Teens don’t think that they are vulnerable; we know they are. It’s not uncommon for these young people to engage in high-risk behaviors. If you’re having difficulty with your teen, find a professional to help you. It may seem like overkill, but getting the help you need is far better than the alternative.
Author Karen Alton is a mother of three teenagers and knows the temptations they face. At testing centers in Atlanta for sexually transmitted infection, teens can be screened for STDs confidentially.
Images by Highway Patrol Images, Incase and tippi t / Flickr