Parenting tips: Teenagers and risky be­hav­iour

Central and North Burnett Times - - YOUR SAY - — Wide Bay Hospi­tal and Health Ser­vice

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.

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