Custom CSS of Section contains Conditional Preview for See Life Campaign Elements

Risks Teens Take

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email
James Ferrie/iStock
What can parents do when their teens think they're invincible and don't consider the life-changing consequences?

Does your son think he’s invincible? Does your daughter believe that the life-changing consequences of risky behavior could never happen to her? Do you avoid talking about at-risk trends in teen culture because you think your kid would never be tempted? It’s time to think again.

Parents, teachers and friends were shocked when a popular middle-school athlete recently died while playing the “choking game,” an activity that restricts blood flow to the brain to achieve the sensation of being high. In addition to the choking game, phrases such as “car surfing” (riding on top of a moving car), “robotripping” (abusing cough syrup to get high) and “hook-up culture” (sexual activity with multiple, random and sometimes anonymous partners) are familiar to teens but often unheard of by parents.

The consequences of these behaviors are far too risky for us to stay unaware and uninvolved. Let’s be honest about the activities teens are engaging in and the risks associated with them.

So how do kids get involved in such dangerous behaviors? Some young people may simply be bored, especially during the summer months when school is out. Some teens may lack information about the dangers associated with the stunts they’re urged to participate in. And peer pressure is a constant influence in many teens’ decision-making process.

A more complex explanation is that adolescents do not have fully developed brains or reasoning abilities, leaving them easily influenced by their environment and prone to impulsive behavior. “The teenage brain is not just an adult brain with fewer miles on it,” Frances E. Jensen, a professor of neurology at Harvard Medical School, told Harvard Magazine. “[Adolescence] is a paradoxical time of development. These are people with very sharp brains, but they’re not quite sure what to do with them.”

Dr. Freda Bush, from the Medical Institute for Sexual Health, links her studies in neuroscience research to the sexual health risks of teens. “The brains of people younger than 25 are less physically developed than are the brains of adults. These yet-to-mature brains translate to an adolescent inability to make mature decisions.” Dr. Bush goes on to explain that young brains mold in response to input from the world around them — from their experiences. There are many ways for adolescents to satisfy their inclinations toward sensation-seeking that are not harmful or anti-social, and parents can be influential in those experiences.

Understanding and informing kids about the dangers of thrill-seeking activities can make a big difference. But discussing the behaviors is only the first step. Parents and teens need to consider practical strategies for making in-the-moment decisions.

Assess the risks

Empower your teen to make wise choices under pressure. You can do this by helping him assess possible outcomes. For example, ask what he thinks might happen if he played the choking game or tried car surfing. What could happen if he experimented with cough syrup or other over-the-counter meds? What would he do if one of his friends was seriously injured or disabled while engaging in one of these activities? How would he feel if his best friend died while playing? The goal is to help your teen hear for himself how real and devastating consequences can be.

Teach responsibility

Encourage your teen to say no without fear of rejection. Teach your daughter that she’s responsible for her choices, and assure her that you trust her to choose wisely.

Find his interests

Involve your teen in something meaningful. Youth groups are great, but don’t assume that’s all your teen needs. Team sports can provide a sense of belonging, while music lessons can give a sense of accomplishment and worth. Constructive projects with an adult provide new skills, critical-thinking practice and opportunities to learn good work ethics. Find out what your teen is interested in, and then facilitate experiences in that area.

Stay engaged

Be a safe person for your teen to talk with about anything. Always listen without judging harshly or reacting out of fear. Stay current with cultural trends and the risks teens are taking. Know your son’s friends and his friends’ parents. Create a home that’s a fun place for teens, and set it up so activities are out in the open.

Conquer fear

Clearly, you need to be aware of dangers and take practical action when it comes to risky teen behavior. But don’t be robbed of the joy of parenting by being overwhelmed with fear. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).

If you are especially anxious or concerned, talk with a pastor, youth pastor, counselor, teacher or wise friend. You don’t have to feel powerless or alone — let your concerns motivate you to find the support you need. Paul exhorts us in Philippians 4:6, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”


If you are parenting an at-risk teen, you can email us at [email protected] or call 800-A-FAMILY (232-6459) Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Mountain time) to find the resources you need.

Dynamic CTA Template Below

Your Teen Needs You Most of All

No parent of teens is perfect and even the best can learn how to better connect with their son or daughter. Get practical action steps to better connect with your teenager in 8 Essential Tips for Parenting Your Teen in this FREE video series!

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
Emerson-Eggerich4-840w

Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Reconnected: The Digital Experience

Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.

Next Steps: Marriage Assessment

We want your marriage to be thriving and healthy. Take the free Marriage Assessment from Focus on the Family to learn how to strengthen your bond with your spouse and get the tools to help you need to grow closer together. 

Next Steps: Fruit of the Spirit Devotionals for Couples

The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional is a free series of nine short videos to get you into God’s Word and inspire you to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in loving your spouse.

Share:
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on print
Share on email

You May Also Like

A man holds the belly of his pregnant wife. She holds a photo of a viable ultrasound.
Abortion

Abortion is Not a ‘Viable’ Option

An abortion is now legal at any point in some states if the baby is not considered viable. But what does “viable‚” mean, and who’s in charge of defining the term?

parents talking with their son about changes in society
Adult Children

Parenting Young Adults: Adaptability

Adaptability as a parent requires a mom or dad to get rid of the “shoulds” that tend to come from comparing their experience as young adults to that of their kids.

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 5: It’s Going to be Amazing!

After a couple has chosen life, hear the heartwarming stories of children that culture would have cast aside, yet are making tremendous impacts in their communities. Whether the diagnosis was adverse or the circumstances were difficult, these stories will inspire you to come along side of families who have chosen life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 4: Sometimes the Choice is Hard

Hear real life stories of parents who have made the decision to choose life even though the circumstances were overwhelming. You’ll see why “ALL” life is precious to God and why choosing life is always the right decision!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 6: Families Helping Families!

So, after all you’ve seen through the SeeLife ‘21 Episodic journey; what can you do now? We’ll share how you can partner with some amazing organizations that are making significant impacts in the pro-life movement! You want to Celebrate Life!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 3: The Power of a Picture

Have you ever wondered what a baby looked like in the womb? With today’s technology, Moms and Dads can see the baby’s heartbeat, facial expressions, and movements! You’ll find out why more women choose life once they hear their baby’s heartbeat and realize it’s a real living human!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 2: Heroes Providing Hope

Discover the amazing work our PRC’s Directors, Nurses, and Volunteers are making in their communities! You’ll see firsthand testimonies of a PRC in action, and that there are other options outside of abortions! You’ll also discover how your family can support your local PRC!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!

Play Video

Newest Release - Episode 1: The Truth About Life!

In this episode, we will tackle tough questions like, “When does life begin?” and “What does the Bible
say about Life?” You’ll discover and understand the stages of pre-born life and that babies are more than
just a clump of cells!

Yes, I Promise to Pray for the Pre-born and Their Moms!

Will you pray for the pre-born and moms that are facing unexpected pregnancies? We will send you a 7-day prayer guide that will help guide you along this journey with us!! You can even choose to receive this great resource by text!