It’s a fact that adolescents and young adults take more risks than any other age group. It can take many forms such as dangerous driving, unsafe sex, alcohol, and drug experimentation. Think back to when you were a teenager and remember all the risks you were prepared to take. Recent studies have shown that teens are hard-wired to take more risks and they like the thrill associated with risk-taking. Risk taking is not necessarily always a bad thing, and there are risks that are not only good but promote healthy development and growth. The important thing for you as a parent is to help them learn how to take risks and encourage them to make the right choices.
Be There for Support
While risk-taking is a normal part of the growing-up process, most teens won’t feel the need to take it to the extremes. However, there are going to be a few for whom it leads to addiction. If you’ve already tried talking to your teen about risk-taking, but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears, you’ll need to look for extra support. You might be able to ask a college or school counselor for advice. There might be a trusted family member or friend who you’d be willing to talk to your teen about their reckless behavior and explain what will happen if they don’t take back control of their life. Inpatient rehab centers can help if the problem has become severe.
If your teen wants to try something that is dangerous, encourage them to talk about it before making a decision. It is the perfect opportunity to discuss the pros and cons and maybe look for ways to make the activity much safer. Find out why it is so important for them to try the activity, and look for other things they can do that aren’t quite so dangerous. There has to be some give and take, but if you really have to say no, you owe it to your teen to explain why. Communication is essential when you’re raising a family so always keep the channels open.
Channeling Their Tendencies
To help your teen understand more about themselves and how best to test their abilities you can try to direct their risk-taking tendencies into more positive activities. There are plenty of adrenalin-fueled sports such as martial arts, snowboarding, rock-climbing, or mountain biking that provide lots of thrills. For some teens the rush experienced when participating in creative arts is something they learn to love.
Allow your teen some level of autonomy to make their own decisions about the risks they take as it will allow them the freedom to explore. It also fosters their ability to think, feel, make decisions, and act on their own. Set the ground rules when it comes to alcohol and drugs but allow them the freedom to make their own decisions about what they wear, the activities they take part in after school, and what time they go to bed.