5 Risky Health Behaviors That Are Common In Teens
Being a teenager, as we all know from experience, is tough. You’re at an important point in your education, your hormones are going a million miles an hour, and you’re just discovering the trials of relationships, peer pressure, and all the other things that come with growing up. While some teens manage to power through it all, these kinds of pressures can often lead to some very risky behaviors. Whether you’re a concerned parent or a teen yourself, it’s important to know the full gravity of these risky behaviors. In this post, we’ll take a look at five of the most common risky behaviors in teens, and what they can mean in the long run.
Alcohol and Marijuana
Alcohol and marijuana always make the top of the list in risky behaviors that are common among teens. It’s almost a guarantee that teenagers will be exposed to the two most popular recreational drugs in the country during high school. Most teens will experiment with alcohol before they finish high school, and just over a third will experiment with marijuana. While both of these drugs are harmful, they’re relatively benign when taken in moderation. However, as teens are still in a developmental stage, and under a lot of social pressure, they stand a bigger risk of becoming dependent on any intoxicating substance. Make sure you’re talking to your child about drugs and alcohol. Trying to scare them and being blasé about the whole subject can have equally damaging effects. The best approach is being open and honest about it, and making sure they know they can talk to you. If you’re a teen yourself, and feel you can’t talk to your parents about drugs or alcohol, at least make sure you’re getting the facts.
A Sexually Active Lifestyle
Obviously, sex is a natural and beautiful part of life, and isn’t something that teenagers should see as completely taboo. However, as they grow, socialize, and start to become sexually active, teenagers frequently encounter all the risks that come with sexual intercourse. Unplanned pregnancies are possibly the biggest one. Many teens who unexpectedly become pregnant or father a child have to drop out of education, and go on to lead lives of poor career prospects and financial difficulty. Much more prevalent is the risk of potentially serious STDs, especially when most teens feel uncomfortable talking about their sex life with any kind of authority figures. If you’re a teen, it’s important to make sure you have access to contraception, know your testing options, and the implications of some of the most common STDs. High schools do all they can to keep teens informed and open about being sexually active, but if you’re a parent, you can still do your part by talking to them yourself about sex, love, and generally being safe. This isn’t the easiest conversation to have, but it’s still a very important one!
Prescription Drug Abuse
While experimenting with alcohol and marijuana is a fairly familiar issue with most parents, modern teens are known to partake in another risky behavior that’s fairly recent compared to others. Prescription drug abuse in teenagers has gone through the roof in recent years, spurred on by an increase in medicated children throughout the United States. Surveys have shown that roughly a quarter of teens in America have taken medication that wasn’t prescribed for them. Adderall and Ritalin are among the most common ADHD drugs currently prescribed to teenagers in America. When teenagers without the condition take these medications, it can give them a stimulating high. When these pills are abused, it can lead to serious consequences, including stunted mental development in some cases. If you find any unidentified prescription pills in your teenager’s pocket, bag, or room, check out sites like Pillbox which help you identify unknown pills. This can help you decide whether to talk to your teen about the dangers of the medication, or chill out if it turns out to be aspirin! If you’re a teenager, again, make sure you get the facts, and know what these medicines can do to your body and mind. Furthermore, don’t hesitate to tell someone if you’re experiencing side effects. It’s much better for your parents to get angry at you than to have to call an ambulance!
Bad Dietary Habits Leading to Eating Disorders
Eating disorders have been common in teenage girls for some time now, and modern teens are under just as much social pressure as ever. The good news is, the harmful effects of negative body images in the media are in the spotlight these days, and much more work is being done to combat these effects. The bad news is that disorders such as bulimia and anorexia are still a very big problem in western society, and one that all parents need to be aware of. If you’re starting to notice rapid weight loss in your teen, alongside a dive in their self-esteem, a sudden preoccupation with foods and calorie counting, and signs of a warped image of their weight, then it may be time to take action.
Teenagers are notorious for their risky driving behaviors, and tragically, are involved in significantly more traffic collisions than older age groups. Risky behaviors associated with teens involve driving while intoxicated on drugs or alcohol, and distracted driving. Studies have shown that many teenagers, particularly boys, will engage in riskier driving behaviors when they’re in the car with other people their own age. Like drugs or alcohol, keeping an open channel of communication with your teenager is the best way to prevent risky driving behaviors. If you paid for their car, you may want to lay down some ground rules, for example no driving with friends for the first few months of passing their test. The prospect of having their car taken away is usually a very powerful motivator for teenagers who are just starting to enjoy the freedom! Ultimately, there’s nothing you can do about your teen’s driving habits, other than making sure they know how risky some behaviors can be.
Image Credit: Bottles