It is completely normal for teenagers and young boys to want to try new experiences. However, they are more likely to make quick decisions and engage in risky behaviour that may end up harming them because the part of their brain that controls impulse and planning doesn’t fully mature until 25 years of age.
They are exploring limits and boundaries, and are seeking new experiences as Psychology Today explores. Many external factors affect why their actions and decisions may develop into risky behaviour.
Peer pressure from friends is the largest contributor to risk-taking, whether direct or indirect. How adolescents are viewed by their peers guides much of their behaviour in a desire to fit in. This can be compounded by adolescents with low self-esteem or mental health issues. They are less likely to say no and can use risky behaviour as a way to relieve stress.
Boredom, rebellion and an illusion of invincibility also ignites risky behaviour. Adolescents seek excitement, independence and escape, making risky behaviours such as unsafe sexual activity, drugs, alcohol or illegal activities seem more appealing.
As suggested by Kids Helpline, here are some ways you can deal with risk-taking and the consequences for boys:
- Good communication is key to knowing what your son is up to away from home.
- Encouraging sports or other hobbies such as The Arts, gives safer alternatives to reduce boredom.
- Be a good role model and set positive examples as a parent.
- Inform your son with balanced information about risky behaviours and talk about peer pressure and coping methods like asserting himself.
- Set boundaries for your son and have set rules so your son knows what is and isn’t acceptable.
- Seek support such as a counsellor so your son can discuss issues and receive help if he needs it.
As a parent, focus on channelling your son’s spontaneous energy and experimentation into safe and constructive experiences to allow him the freedom he desires by minimising potential risk.
Boys at Christ Church Grammar School are able to seek help and advice from The Wynne Centre for Boys’ Health and Wellbeing on ways they can apply strategies in their daily lives to encourage healthy living and reduce the attraction of risky behaviour. If you are interested in keeping up-to-date on the latest insights for raising boys, subscribe to our BGM enewsletter.