Teens do risky and sometimes dangerous things. Sometimes parents shake their heads in wonder. However, truthfully, teens are not capable of assessing risk and consequence. Recently we heard about a teenage boy who locked himself out of the house and tried to climb down the chimney. Surprisingly the teenager was not the only teen who tried to get into a house via chimney. In November of 2011, a teen from Atlanta was rescued from a chimney and arrested for attempted burglary. In August of 2013, a teenager in California tried to break into a home and became stuck in the chimney 10 feet down.
The teenage brain is growing quickly. "The parts of the brain responsible for things like sensation seeking are getting turned on in big ways around the time of puberty," says Temple University psychologist Laurence Steinberg. "But the parts for exercising judgment are still maturing throughout the course of adolescence. So you've got this time gap between when things impel kids toward taking risks early in adolescence, and when things that allow people to think before they act come online. It's like turning on the engine of a car without a skilled driver at the wheel." What Makes Teens Tick Time Magazine 2004.
When your teens are playing:
- They slingshot behind cars
- They try the cinnamon challenge
- They jump from the roof into swimming pools
What can parents do? Part of raising a teen is giving them freedom to make the wrong choices. However, parents can steer teens towards the right choices by staying engaged and presenting activities that are a little less dangerous.