Taking risks is a normal part of growing up. Trying out for a role in the school play, making new friends, or even sampling a new food are all healthy risks that teens might take. However, for some teens, the process of testing boundaries and maturing as independent adults leads to unsafe behaviors. Risky behavior in adolescents that result in injury, mental health issues, problems in school, or other negative outcomes are definitely something you want to watch for in your child.
Knowing what risky behavior looks like and why it happens can help you parent your teen more effectively. And if you spot the warning signs of these behaviors, a treatment program like Ascend’s can help. Read on here to learn how to spot high-risk behaviors in teens today.
Common High-Risk Behaviors
Some of the most common types of high-risk behaviors by teens include:
- Substance Abuse
- Unsafe Sexual Behavior
- Unsafe Social Media Use
- Dangerous Driving
- Self-Injurious Behavior
Whether your teen is drinking and smoking or sharing their private information with unknown people on social media, they’re taking the wrong kinds of risks. This type of risky behavior in adolescents is usually a result of an undeveloped brain that doesn’t have appropriate impulse control necessary to avoid dangerous conduct. Combine a young brain with a teen that’s looking for more stimulation and rewarding experiences and you have a potent combination that leads teens to make decisions without thinking about the consequences.
How to Recognize Risky Behaviors in Adolescents
If your teen is engaging in unsafe activities, it’s likely that they will try to hide their behavior from the adults in their life. Staying aware of changes in your teen’s behavior can help you limit the dangers they might face.
Some signs that your teen is engaging in risky behavior may include:
- They have a new social circle
- They have unexplained injuries
- Their grades have recently fallen
- They’ve lost interest in activities they once enjoyed
- They use their device compulsively
Supporting Your Teen Without Enabling Risky Behavior
How can you help your child grow into an independent adult while also keeping them safe? Some things you can do include:
- Communicate openly – Listen attentively to your teen and be honest with them about reckless behavior.
- Meet their friends – Peer pressure can contribute to unsafe activities, and getting to know your teen’s friends can help you keep an eye on them.
- Set an example – Don’t text and drive, use social media wisely, and model responsible substance use.
- Reach out for help – If you’re concerned about your teen’s mental health or about their behavior, contact a treatment facility near you.
Help for Risky Behaviors in Adolescents at Ascend
At Ascend Healthcare, we offer residential treatment for troubled teens. In our programs, young people who are struggling with substance use issues, mental health disorders, or other behavioral issues can find support and learn adaptive coping skills.
Risky behaviors in adolescents don’t have to lead to unintended consequences. If you’re worried about your child, we can help. Let our admissions team tell you more about our program when you reach out to us at 310.388.3713 today.