What is teen high risk behavior?
Teen high risk behavior occurs when there are multiple risk factors with few protective factors to mitigate adverse outcomes. These behaviors that can result in negative consequences that outweigh the potential gains and harm adolescent development.
Common adolescent high-risk behaviors include unprotected sexual activity, substance abuse, cigarette smoking, preventable injury and violence, including self-harm.
Adolescents involved in delinquency or criminality are at greater risk of health or life-compromising outcomes (incarceration, unemployability, school failure, etc.)
What contributes to high-risk behavior in teens?
Risky behavior is low in childhood, increases around puberty, peaks in late adolescence and early adulthood, and then decreases in adulthood.
Still developing self-regulation and impulse control
Impressionable – especially with peers
Factors that contribute to risky behavior:
- Biological – personality, affect
- Social – antisocial behavior or friend/social groups
- Environmental – neighborhood, family, community, racial disparities, class disparities, school connectedness
- Emotion-based reasoning …rather than weighing the risks, they think about the social consequences of their decisions
What parents can do to prevent risky behavior
Learn and Share
- Educate yourself about the issues teens are facing today, especially issues that could contribute risky behavior. Examples of these could be the popularity of substances or activities after school.
- Educate your teen. Equip them with the information needed to make healthy choices or rebound from poor decisions and risky behaviors.
- Talk with your kids. Find out what they know, and what their friends are doing, and equip them with the information needed to make healthy choices or rebound from poor decisions and risky behavior,
- Encourage healthy risk-taking – safe, socially acceptable, and constructive behavior. This helps teens become more independent and autonomous, expand their understanding of their values, morals, beliefs, and identity and practice independent decision-making and problem-solving skills. Examples: trying a new sport or food, apologizing for a mistake, reaching out for help, public speaking, asking someone out on a date, challenging coursework, etc. These are protective factors or buffers to potential risky behavior.
- Build your teen’s protective factors. Protective factors are conditions or characteristics associated with a lower likelihood of adverse outcomes or reducing the potential for risky behavior. Examples of protective factors include pro-social activities, emotional support, positive community, friends, or family, sleep, nutrition, exercise, and skill development.
What is MTLC’s approach to teen high risk behavior?
Build awareness. How has the client contributed to outcomes or risky behavior? Where have they succeeded, and where have they failed?
Envision what could be. What kind of future does the client want for themselves? How would life be different if they got there?
Create meaning and purpose. Why does it matter that the client strives for this desired future and does not engage in risky behavior?
What does the client do well? How can they leverage their strengths or resources to reach their goals and avoid risky behavior? Could they identify strengths and resources?
Identify practical goals and plan actions to achieve them. How can the client create a path toward their desired destination? What types of intermittent, reasonable steps can they take to forge that path and avoid the potential of risky behaviors?
Outcomes: Increased confidence, self-efficacy, and motivation acquired pro-social people, places, and community.
The MTLC difference is tailored and collaborative. We work with the teen, their parents, and any support professionals they use to craft a personalized approach to realizing their goals.
To learn more about how MyTeenLifeCoach.com could help your child, visit our website or call us at (770) 235 8202 to schedule a free exploration meeting.