10 Ways to Encourage Your Teen’s Risk-Taking Behavior

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Yes, you read that right.  I want you to encourage your teens to take risks…well to a certain extent.  I know it is not traditional advice for me to tell you to encourage your kids to go Skydiving, but when have I ever gave typical advice on my blog? Follow me here:
Many studies have shown that the reasoning part of teen’s brains are not fully developed.  Young people love to take risks, do things that make their adrenaline pump and give them a little fright.

Knowing this, why can’t we encourage young people to get the risk-taking out of their system by pushing them to take positive risks?

Here are some ideas I have for positive risks you can encourage for your teen:

1) Skateboarding or Surfing

2) Skiing and Snowboarding

3) River Rafting

4) Rock Climbing

5) Paragliding, Hang-gliding, Skydiving or Parasailing

Ok, you freaked on this one right? I know that Skydiving does not feel like a great after-school activity.  But, I list it here because wouldn’t you rather your kid try Skydiving instead of trying some new street drug? Ok, maybe that is a stretch, but you know what I mean.  If you have a kid who is on the verge, maybe try encouraging them to take some other extreme sports risks.

6) High School Sports

Regular contact sports I also think can be very good outlets.

7) Change the Law

If they are passionate about anything political encourage them to take a risk by walking into the mayor’s office and asking for change, writing letters or starting a campaign or group.  Stepping out and deciding to change something can make teens feel passionate, brave and risky.

8) Enter a Competition

Sometimes telling a secret can be a big risk.  Or putting your creative juices out there can also take a lot of guts.  Encourage them to send their poetry into a magazine, submit their short story to a creative writing contest or competition.

9) Run for Student Council

Running in an election can take a lot of bravery and is a big social risk.  Parents want their kids to stay away from taking risks from their health, their safety or anything that might have permanent effects.  This kind of social risk is great because it produces adrenaline, but even if it ends badly they can still recover.

10) Ride Rollercoasters

Really anything that will get their adrenaline pumping can get the risk-taking need out of their system.  It might seem small, but encouraging your kids to go to the local fair or theme park can actually make them feel quite adventurous.

Taking risks is not only good for your kids to get it out of their system, but also because you grow and mature by taking some educated risks.

This post is dedicated to my Lee Tomlinson, who many years ago inspired me ago to take a risk with my business and my humor.

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10 Responses to “10 Ways to Encourage Your Teen’s Risk-Taking Behavior”

  1. Katy
    December 1, 2008 at 5:11 pm #

    I agree with you. My husband went skydiving in his younger days, before we met, and he survived.
    I don’t know how I would feel about it if I had known him then…

  2. lisaf-breakingthecycles
    December 1, 2008 at 5:16 pm #

    Hi Vanessa,

    You are so right about the importance to teens of risk-taking.

    This site, Life at its best. Add Nothing, offers video clips and other messages along the lines of what you are suggesting for teens to pass along to friends, http://www.addnothing.org/ The repeated message is “doing what you love – without alcohol.”

    Thanks for these great suggestions!
    Lisa

  3. Angel Cuala
    December 1, 2008 at 7:21 pm #

    My daughter is fond of joining competitions, and I noticed that it is a great help for her to increase self-confidence.

    Also, she is meeting new friends and understand what teamwork means.

    Thanks!

  4. classicheart
    December 3, 2008 at 6:58 am #

    There was an article in the Philly Weekly(or City Paper) about a single mother trying to raise her two teenage daughters on a modest salary. She was loosing one of her daughters to drug addiction.
    In desperation, the mother took her daughters on a backpacking trip. I don’t remember the details of her plan(if she had one), but the idea was clear-you haven’t got time to care about drugs when you need to find somewhere to sleep and something to eat on a really tight budget.
    Tapping the survival instinct triggers adrenaline. Adrenaline makes you feel “alive.”
    Teenagers, with their abundance of energy and endless need for stimulation, get involved in harmful and illegal activities like speeding, or just doing something they are Not supposed in order to get that feeling of being “alive” which adrenaline provides.
    Personally, adrenaline is my Prozac. It’s more than just the exercise from rock climbing on a cliff or a vacation when i land myself somewhere where i don’t know the language, don’t have much money and haven’t made any plans except to adapt and survive.
    The energy of a teenager is their pure potential. The more restless they are, the more potential they have. The trick is to channel that energy into something productive that gives them essence of the power of their choices, of being in charge of their own destiny. I don’t think that I am saying anything new for parents, but that is simply what I have observed throughout my life, for myself and other young adults who have turned their lives around by being Alive and not just having a pulse.

  5. jrandom42
    December 3, 2008 at 9:55 am #

    And what happens if your teen has already been there and done all this stuff and is still bored and looking for thrills and risks?

  6. Vanessa
    December 3, 2008 at 10:02 am #

    If your teen has really done all of the things on this list, then risk-taking has become the comfort one and normal activities would be more risky. You can go two directions, have them do some of the extreme adventure semesters away (they have semesters in the wild and at sea) or go the other way and challenge your teen to succeed in the everyday level with school and a job.

    Vanessa

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