PARENT PICKLES: Handling risky behaviour in teens
TEENAGERS are always looking to try new things and when you combine that sense of adventure with a fledging 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?
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 for keeping to them.
Responsibility is another aspect of independence, so it is a more positive way to funnel that desire in your teen.
OTHER WAYS TO HELP
Get to know your teen's friends so you have an idea of the personalities they have around them.
If you have concerns about their friends, then try to come up with ways that your teen can combat peer pressure. Provide them with tips on how to deal with those situations that they may face.
Also it's wise to give your teen a chance to have a wide network of friends as that gives them more options to avoid bad influences.
- Reference: raisingchildren.net.au
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HELP AT HAND
If you have further questions about this or any other health issue for your child please chat to your GP, visit our WBHHS child health team at the Margaret Rose Centre, 312 Bourbong St, Bundaberg, or call your local WBHHS child health team on:
- Bundaberg - 4150 2700
- Childers - 4192 1133
- Gin Gin - 4157 2222
- Gayndah - 4161 3571
- Mundubbera - 4161 3571
- Monto - 4166 9300
- Biggenden - 4127 6400
- Eidsvold - 4165 7100
Even if you just want to have a chat and a bit of reassurance, the WBHHS child health team is here to help!