How to control Risk taking behaviour in your teenager
Risk taking behaviour in your teenager : Being a parent, it is natural to feel worried about risk taking behavior in your teenager. I always did.
I have seen many examples of risk taking behaviour in teens. There has been a time or two when my teens have taken risks. Rash driving that led to broken bones, experiment gone all wrong that lead to repainting the walls.
Some kids I know of have gone a step further. Indulged in drunken driving to drugs. My thoughts were ‘what do I do if one day my teens start drugs? How do I deal with it?’
What do I need to do, to prevent them from doing such activities? How can I prevent my teen from risky behavior? What should I do if one day I come to know about any risky behavior in my teen? How should I react?
These were some of the questions that ran through my head.
Like me, all of you would have had thoughts regarding to this. I am writing this blog for us, parents.
I will discuss in detail how you can avoid risk taking behavior in your teenager. And how to deal if your teen is demonstrating these kinds of behaviour.
Before proceeding further, I just want to say this. Do not feel alone. Including me, almost every parent has thoughts and worries about risk taking behaviour in our teenagers. It is a common problem of parenting. So, you are not alone in this situation.
- Most common Risk taking behavior in your teenager
- 10 Common Reasons why teenagers involve in risky behavior
- 20 Ideas to reduce risk taking behavior in your teenager
- Important Note to Parents
Teens usually love to take risks as they are brimming with over enthusiasm in teenage years. They love to feel independent. Feel macho.
They want to explore new things and gain different experiences. Or, they like to push themselves beyond their abilities and see what they are made of. Taking risk is good if it is safe.
But sometimes, teens get involved in risky behaviours which are totally bad for their well being. It is important to be concerned about risky behaviour in your teenager.
Most common risk taking behaviours in your teenager are:
- Violent or dangerous sports
- Damage and destruction to property
- Unhealthy food habits
- Getting into fights, Bullying
- Drugs / medication/ Illegal substance use
- Dangerous / rash driving
- Any kind of illegal activities
- Smoking tobacco
- Getting involved with strangers
- Bunking school and not informing anyone about their whereabouts
- Borrowing money from friends or strangers without the knowledge of parents.
To know more detail about these topics. Read our articles in the link given. Parenting challenges faced while raising teenagers.
10 Common Reasons why teenagers involve in risky behavior
Here, we will discuss factors that could lead to risk taking behaviour in your teenager.
Teenagers are usually too emotional and not logical while making a decision. From a medical point of view, the main reason is the developing prefrontal cortex which is responsible for rational and logical decision making.
The prefrontal cortex is a part of brain. It develops fully only around the age of 25. This part of brain helps in decisions making.
Watch what experts are saying about risky behaviors in teenagers
Till this age, impulse control (doing something in haste without thinking through and looking at the consequence) is still developing and is not matured.
This, coupled with some of the following factors given below can develop risk taking behaviour in your teenager.
- To try something new just for the experience, to know how it feels. For example, trying to get high on alcohol just to know how getting high feels.
- They can be influenced by negative company. May be because of any friend or cousin. When someone keeps talking about an experience, it is only tempting to try it out too.
- For adventure, adrenaline rush, thrill seeking, pleasure and fun.
- Social media can influence teens both in a positive and/or a negative way. For instance, they get influenced negatively, by any movie in which risky behaviour is demonstrated as heroism. For example, rash driving.
- Low self-esteem is also a cause of risk taking behaviour in your teenagers. A teen with low self-esteem does these stunts to impress others. To try and fit in. Moreover, when they do these things, they derive a sense of accomplishment that boosts their self esteem.
- They want to try something exceptional. For example, the most common risky behaviour in boys dangerous driving. Girls on the other hand may get caught in unwanted and dangerous relationships.
- The other factor that causes risky behaviour is a want to express independence. Teens usually go against the tide in order to exhibit their independence.
- To feel like an adult. In control of everything.
- To feel superior. When they get into a fight or bullyinh where they can overpower their victim and feel superior to them.
- The want to self-loath or self-punish. Inflicting pain or injury on own self.
20 Ideas to reduce risk taking behaviour in your teenager
I have outlined below 20 ideas that you can use to reduce risk taking behaviour in your teenager. I have personally tried them out myself and it has worked for me in my situation.
I hope they are of some use to you too, to reduce risk taking behaviour in your teenager.
#1 Educate yourself
Times have changed and problems are also changing. As parents, we should be aware of all the problems that our teens could face these days. These problems are related to either social media, technology or drugs. When we have enough knowledge about these things, we can prevent our children from these. We can take steps in advance.
Moreover, when you know completely about all the problems of teens you become more likely to understand your teen’s situation.
This also will help you to effectively put your point across to your teen. To know more, please read our article, How to Get your Point Across to Your Teenager.
#2 Educate your teenager about risky behaviour
I have done this for all my three children. And I strongly believe this helps.
Also, I have talked to them on how their brain develops and how they do not have matured impulse control till they are about 25 yrs.
There is nothing wrong with it. It is like reaching to the top shelf. They cannot do it when they are little but can do it when they grow tall.
In the same way their brain is also growing. And it will take time. So, they should be aware of this when they feel like doing something risky.
This comparison, might help your child understand better and could help your child in the future. They become clearer about do’s and don’ts.
#3 Talk about real consequences of risky behaviour
Through social media your child can get negatively influenced. Pictures put up on social media only show the comfortable side of life. Therefore, a want to live a life so perfect with similar lifestyles, relationships, gadgets or clothes may tempt our teenagers to involve in risk taking behaviour.
Talk to them and ask them if they like to do some stunts like the ones they have seen. And educate them of the risks involved.
You should explain reality and the real consequence of rash driving.
You can also narrate stories of accidents that happens around you. You can show them that in the real world rash driving has harmful consequences and is not as glamorous as it is portrayed by the media.
This also helps them in becoming smart. If you like to know other ways of making your teen smart read our article How to Train you teenager to be smart.
#4 Friendly conversation with your teens
During friendly conversations, you can discuss about the pros and cons of risky behaviour.
Encourage them to seek guidance from you if they have questions about anything. It is better that they ask you than look for solutions online or through other sources. Always be available and patiently clear they doubts.
If they do not come forward you could gently initiate conversations when you get a chance.
Build a strong emotional connection with your teenager. You can learn how, in our article How-To Easily build Emotional Connection with your Teenager
#5 Step into your teenager’s world
Be an interesting parent and try to get to know your teen completely. Get familiar with your teen’s world.
Take interest in their choices. Get to know about their school friends or their close friends.
This will not only build a strong relationship with your teens, but also help you spot signs of any incoming trouble easily.
#6 Listen to them with attention
Attentive listening is the heart of any relationship. Try to listen your teens with attention. Show them that you’re concerned about what they are talking. Get to know about their feelings during open conversations.
Be available when your child needs you. Be supportive. Make sure they know that you are always there to help. They can seek guidance from you in any matter.
This support will help them face challenges better. To know more ways of helping your teen face challenges, read our article How to Prepare your Teenager Face Challenges in Life
#7 Talk about actions and their consequences
Talk about risky actions and it is results. In a polite way, tell them the consequences that someone faces after risky actions.
This thing will help your child before taking any decision, they will think before doing.Make sure not to deliver a lecture.
#8 Set your expectations through positive statements
When you tell your kids about your expectation towards them, they become more conscious about their actions.
For example, during a conversation you can say “I know my child will make me proud one day’’. “I know you are far wiseer than other kids. You will be more careful”. ‘You wont act in such a rash way, your driving is safe”
These kinds of positive statements give positive energy to your teens and they become more concerned about parents’ expectations.
#9 Talk about your family values and family rules
Clearly explain your family values and family rules to your teens. When your child completely knows about the family rules and values, they become more conscious and responsible.
Talk about your opinion on Sex, Substance abuse, bullying etc. What is acceptable and what is not in the family.
Things that will make you embarrassed and things that will make you proud.
Learn more in our article How-To effectively discipline your teenager.
#10 Be a good role model
You are the educator of your child. They always seek guidance from you and your actions. They are observers of your actions. If you want your child be punctual, you should be on time. If you want your teens to follow your rules. You should follow them too.
If you rash drive or jump signals, then, you will most likely have a teen who will drive rashly or jump signals.
Read our related article How-To deal with teen sons – A father’s perspective
#12 Monitor your teen’s activities
Get to know about your teen’s circle of friends and the people they are hanging out with. Always be informed about the location of your teens or what they are up to.
Be firm but gentle.
This will help you identify signals on probable risk taking behaviors. Be more aware as a parent by reading our articles How-To talk to teen about Sex, Drugs and Alcohol and How-to Talk to your Teen about Dating and Relationship
#13 Explain consequences of breaking rules
Set rules and tell them the consequences of breaking rules. Show a firm and consistent behavior about your rules. Do not be tolerant if your teenager violates your family rule.
Tell them that there is a consequence for every action. When they see that you take the rules seriously, they will also take your family rules more seriously.
To know more about how to give effective punishments which will help your teen grow, read our article How-to stop teen from breaking rules.
#14 Educate your teens about health risks
There are many high risk activities that are conducted with safety measure. Introduce them to those depending on their interest. For example, rock climbing, Bunjee jumping, snorkeling, etc. Suggest new ideas.
I have seen that the months my second son goes for rock climbing or hiking are the months he is least interested in doing anything risky on his own.
#15 Encourage your teen to make some good friends
Guide your teen about good and bad friends. Ask them to make new friends with good motivational energy.
Younger teens are more likely to take part in risky behavior in the presence of friends. And when the friend circle encourages it, you are in for some bruises and broken bones to say the least.
You should educate your teen about the importance of having the right friends. To get some insights read our article How-to help your teen to choose right friends
#16 Engage your teen with activities
Engage your teen in sports, family activities, health activities and things of their interest. These kinds of activities give positive energy to your teen.
They also get a chance to socialize with people of similar interests This is also a good way for them to shed some of the extra energy they have.
#17 Motivate your teen to find a mentor
Sometimes teen do not listen to their parents. You can introduce your teen to a friend with positive energy. Your teen can get motivation from such people.
#18 Teach delay tactics
Teach you teen delay tactics. Delay tactics are nothing but ways to delay a particular action especially rash ones or ones fine when one is angry or upset. Such as count till 10 before they act. Count in descending order from 10 to 1. Take three deep breaths and then speak. Delay the act. Go for a walk. Etc.
#19 Help your teen handle tricky situations
You need to teach your teen to handle peer pressure without losing face or lose social standing.
Teach your child some effective excuses they can make to get out of tricky situations.
Learn more of such tricks and tips in our article 5 Effective ways to deal with Peer Pressure.
#20 Encourage your teen to reach out for help
Give your teen emergency contacts they can reach out to. People who will look out for their interest and be non-judgmental about it.
Teach them to always reach out to you or text you if they are getting in to an uncomfortable situation so that you can come and help them get out of it.
An Important Note to parents
As parents, it is our responsibility to keep our kids away from dangerous things. You must stay connected to your child, if you don’t want to face problems of risky behaviour in your child.
Friends are great influencers in teenage years. Your teens usually adopt the habits of people around them. Make sure there are good people around your teen to avoid future problems.
Moreover, stay involved in your child’s daily activities. Try to become an interesting parent and show interest in your teen’s daily routine or things they love to do.
The reason is that when you and your teenager share a good relationship things become easier for both of you.
No doubt, sometimes parenting becomes difficult for us. But don’t get stressed out by such problems.
Be aware about risks to avoid problems. But if you still find some bad habits in your teen, take a deep breath, and think what possible things you can do to resolve the issue.
Take steps based on what will edit your child the best depending on the bad habit. Device a strategy to help overcome the problem.
At the end, I want to conclude by saying, don’t become too strict or do not become too lenient.
Discipline is not punishment. When you love your children, you will discipline them.
It is about your teen’s future, try to do things in a balanced way and in few years you will have a healthy and strong adult.
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Let us know how your spotted risk taking behaviour in your yen and how you helped them come out of it. Leave your comments below.
However, I am a mother growing 3 kids. Am a concerned parent.
I like to share my knowledge with the hope that it will be of help to someone somewhere and make a difference to a very worried parent.
I have written this article, based on my experience, my talk with experts in this line and research on this topic. Also, I have implemented it in my life with my kids.
I would like to emphasize that this is only for knowledge sharing and information purpose.
If you are feeling concerned and worried about your kid, your instinct tells you to be concerned.
As a parent to parent. I would say trust your instinct. No one knows what is better for your child other than you. It is best to reach out to a qualified practitioner to address your concerns if you feel it might go out of control.
Never disregard medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care providers or delay seeking it because of something you have read on the Internet, including articles and content in our site MyShadesOfYellow.com.
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