What are risky behaviors in adolescents?
Since this period is a period of change and experience, it is observed that adolescents engage in some risky behaviors during this period. Especially in this period, many risks such as smoking or substance use attempts, damaging the environment, showing a tendency to violence, truancy, uncontrolled internet use, joining risky groups, early sexual intercourse and self-harm are encountered. In other words, we can see behaviors that limit and prevent the healthy development of adolescents in this period as risky behaviors. Sometimes, even following his friends and breaking the lesson and not going to school can be a sign of risky behavior. Because how that behavior will take shape and where it will evolve depends most likely on the circle of friends and the intention to break the lesson.
What can trigger risky behaviors?
Family and friend relationships play an important role in adolescents’ risky behaviors. In particular, family members do not know what kind of changes the adolescent has experienced during this period, what difficulties he has faced, in short, what kind of process he has gone through, and the adolescent’s making some negative behaviors, even with good intentions, has a negative effect. In addition, the environment of the adolescent, environmental factors, family economic status and attitude, parental separation, social acceptance, childhood traumas, personality structure and role models play an important role in the formation of risky behavior.
What can be risk-reducing or preventive behaviors?
I think the most important factor is that the adolescent feels understood. I have worked with hundreds of teenagers so far. The most important issue I come across and complain about is that adolescents feel not understood. Walls begin to be built when the adolescent feels that he is not understood and is blocked and counseled. First of all, we need to try to understand what the adolescent is going through and give him an opportunity in some matters. We need to make him feel that we are with him in every situation that is for his benefit, and we need to express this. It is very important to give an opportunity for change without breaking communication in the face of a mistake or an undesirable situation. We should know that during this period, adolescents may be inconsistent, impatient or believe that nothing will happen to them. It is very important to make an effort to change some of the negative features that we see in ourselves as a family and not to reflect our own weaknesses or inadequacies on the adolescent. At a difficult point, getting support from experts for both ourselves and the adolescent can make your job much easier. Do not neglect to get support when you realize that you cannot cope or the process is out of your control. I can’t help but say that if you can find a way of healthy communication with the adolescent, you will have made significant changes both in your life and in the life of the adolescent.