Shebah Mmera is a writer, teacher and a blogger. She gives advice to parents on how to parent teens and their older kids.
10 Teen Risky Behaviours Parents Need to Keep In Check
All teenagers have a way of making life around them more manageable. They don’t like pressure. Often they engage in activities they purport are good for them, but in the long run, they end up in risky behaviors. We look at the ten teen risky behaviors parents need to keep in check.
Research reveals that disruptive behavior in teenagers may be due to poverty, divorce, dysfunctional families, and peer pressure. Such has become a significant concern for teachers, parents, and caretakers.
All teenagers love a happy life. On top of their list would be activities like going shopping, partying, gaming, hanging out with friends, and using social media. Few will mention reading, cooking, or staying home doing house chores. What are the impacts of these activities on teenagers? We look at the risky behaviors that may arise from their search for pleasure:
Sex, alcohol, and experimentation
Many teenagers will confess to having tested alcohol out of curiosity and experimentation. One out of ten will also admit to engaging in sex and sexual-related activities such as kissing and romance.
Increased use of communication devices
The social media frenzy has made everyone, including teenagers, feel like the lack of a digital device implies analog. Who wants to be branded analog when we all are in a digital world. While it is suitable for your teen to be digitally empowered, a parent must be aware of their online activities.
Relationships at a young age are steered by what they watch on television, social media, and peers. Your older kid may want to play and do things with friends. Peer relationships are a source of affection, sympathy, and love. The relationships also serve as avenues for learning and experimentation. Their friendship may give rise to unhealthy relationships. An unhealthy relationship is the beginning of trouble for your teen girls and boys.
Mood swings and irritability
At this stage, some teens are adolescents, and thus mood swings are a normal biological development. However, balancing societal pressures and demands and their own free time leads to mood swings.
Some teenagers start to ac out due to hurt feelings at school or home. Some may become bullies, others verbally abusive and argue all the time. Schooling and Grades become less attractive, and some may opt to drop out. Some aggression may be due to medical disorders such as trauma, physical or sexual abuse, and psychiatric disorders.
Hiding facts and keeping secrets
Teens start withholding information, especially if they know they are into mischievous behavior that they wish their parents would not know. The teens may lie about their whereabouts and what they are doing to avoid conflicts with their parents.
Defiance and rebellion
Defying rules and arguing becomes the norm in the home. Every rule put in place for them; they feel they are being pressured a lot and should be allowed to do whatever they think. To them, rules are meant to be broken. They will always argue out issues and struggle to win every argument.
More time with friends than family
Their social interaction changes from indoor to outdoor. They would rather spend the whole day and night sleepovers with their friends rather than with parents and siblings. They have decreased family communication as their mind is preoccupied somewhere else.
Sensitive to their growth spurt
During the adolescent stage, teenagers are sensitive to their growth spurt. They are struggling to belong and keep their independence. They are obsessed with their appearance and struggle to fit into social groups. How they groom themselves, dress, speak, walk, and even diet. Some begin social adjustment and may gang with the wrong or good company. As a parent, be there as a guide to help choose better friends.
Money on their mind
It is crucial for teens to have money so that they learn how to prioritize their needs. However, most teens believe having money is all that is important to them. in real sense, they have no idea the origin of the money, and how to spend it. They are not aware of the benefits of saving and cannot even track their spending behavior. Their money is spent on non-essentials.
Indecisiveness should not be a cause for worry for parents. It is a natural behavior that your teen’s brain is maturing. At this stage, could you help them to make decisions? Talk about their career choices and help them identify the possible consequences of all their options.
Tips on helping your teen stay in line
Your information Vs. their information
Inform your child of the consequences of certain behaviors. Teach teens how to interact with the opposite sex and navigate their sexuality. Help the teenager confide in you as you give them positive attention. Let them inform you every time they are out and with whom. Where they are, plans on their travel, eating, and communication while away.
Managing behavior calls for positive discipline and not corporal punishments. As a parent, ensure respect for the child’s dignity by motivating the child towards positive behaviors. Assure them of justice and promote self-discipline and pro-social behavior. Discipline is consistent guidance and giving alternatives while avoiding physical and verbal violence.
Social media frenzy
Do you conform to the idea that they should handle digital devices? How do they learn to operate? Where do they get the gadgets? As a parent, talk about being digital and at the same time remaining insane. Let the teens know the pros and cons of social media. Help them keep timelines when using the digital devices as you monitor their online activities.
Are you available in times of emergency? Sometimes, offer to be there and accompany them to their shopping, hang-outs, or friend’s visits. Ask them about their willingness to have you on board. It will help you know where they go to, their friend’s houses and whether the places they visit are safe for them.
Talk about their money on parties, buying items, and gaming. How do they get the money, and how can they account for it. Do you ever fund them too? What activities need your funding? Do not be a mean parent. Some activities need money. Help them out. Teach them spending habits so that they don’t become extravagant. Teach them the benefits of saving and prioritizing their needs and wants,
Trust and Open house
Can they trust you? Do you trust them with their friends and the kind of activities they engage? Is your house open to their friends? Do you know their friends and family? Building trust will help eliminate the keeping of secrets and withholding information from your teen.
Agreeing on rules about friendship with your child will help keep them away from trouble even as they interact. Allow the friends to your child also have a visit. It is crucial that you get to know the kind of friends they keep and how they interact when together.
Teenagers must explore their interests, enjoy activities, and unwind with friends. However, some rules will do them good and help them avoid risky teen behavior. Encouraging them to have some time alone for rest and thinking is also good. As a parent, be open enough to your teenager as you guide them through that difficult phase of their life.
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.
© 2022 Shebah Mmera