Parenting tips: Teenagers and risky behaviour
TEENAGERS are always looking to try new things – and when you combine that sense of adventure with a greater desire for independence, it can lead to them engaging in risky behaviour.
There are different levels of risky behaviour – maybe it’s merely your teen taking too many risks, trying new scooter tricks or being half an hour late returning home from the beach.
But it can be more serious such as sexting, smoking, binge drinking, drug use, trespassing, vandalism, fighting, truancy or engaging in unprotected sex.
SO WHAT CAN YOU DO IF YOUR TEENAGER IS ENGAGING IN THIS BEHAVIOUR?
Understand why they are doing it.
It’s really important to remember that the part of our brain that handles planning and impulse control doesn’t mature until about 25 years of age.
With that in mind, is it any wonder that teenagers make some decisions without considering the consequences?
That doesn’t make it easier to live with as a parent, but understanding why it is occurring can help you come up with effective ways to encourage your teen to stay safe.
TALK WITH YOUR TEEN
You want to talk about values, behaviour and consequences with your teen while being careful that you don’t come across as lecturing them as this may encourage rebellion.
Try to empathise about how difficult it can be to not engage in certain behaviour, but remind them what the consequences can be and how you want the best for them.
Link those comments to the values your family has.
It is also a good idea to set out rules and the consequences for breaking them before they start engaging in that behaviour.
That way they know what to expect and you give them some responsibility.