The behavior of your child can lead to civil and criminal penalties depending on the extent of their activities. Recognizing the signs that your teen is engaging in high-risk behavior before it becomes a serious issue can save your family time, money and heartache.
Better Homes and Gardens notes that one reason for a rise in high-risk behavior is due to a struggle between dependence and independence. Some teens experiment by trying new clothes, hairstyles and jobs, while others may turn to drinking, drug use or sexual activity.
Pay attention to your child’s drinking habits. A child that drinks alone without the parent’s awareness is more likely to engage in risky behavior.
Simply pointing out that you are aware they are drinking can reduce the likelihood that they will engage in additional risky behaviors. Rather than scolding your teen the first time you catch them drinking, remind them that if they want to reach their peak level of health and excel at sports and education, they should avoid drinking.
Try to frame things in a positive light, and don’t focus only on the negative so they are more likely to listen to you.
If your child is doing poorly in school, they may also be engaging in high-risk behavior. When other activities take priority, your child will let schoolwork fall to the wayside.
One way to help improve their grades is to get them engaged in a school sport. Sports teams generally require a minimum GPA to stay active. If they find an activity they enjoy, they will spend more time with people who are engaging in productive activities and be more inclined to keep their grades up to retain eligibility.
Even if the school doesn’t enforce a minimum grade-point average, you can enforce one at home.
Some teenagers may experience issues with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. A good way to monitor your child is by setting strict limits on when and how the family car can be used.
Coming home late, not returning the car when promised or using the car without asking should all be grounds for taking away car privileges. Explain the consequences for driving under the influence.
The Law Office of Byron Roope, with DUI lawyers in Sacramento, CA, notes that the consequences for driving under the influence can include:
- three- to five-years of summary probation,
- six months in county jail,
- fines up to $1,000,
- alcohol education class,
- and a license suspension for up to 10 months.
Explain the consequences so they know what to expect if they are pulled over.
If your child is getting involved in fights at school, it’s time to take action. Fighting is the result of not feeling in control of their life or as a way to improve their self-esteem.
Talk with your child about the fighting and find a way for them to vent their anger in other ways. Consider enrolling them in activities that promote discipline and foster a healthy sense of self.
Spend more time with your child, and make sure they set personal values and boundaries to reduce the chance of getting in future fights.
If you catch your child smoking, talk about the reasons why smoking is bad for them. Explain that at their age, it can stunt their growth, cause bad breath and cause other health concerns. Explain that the reason there is a law against under-age smoking is due to the negative health effects it can have on a growing body.
Taking action early on and paying attention to what happens in your child’s life can help you prevent many high-risk behaviors. Set rules and guidelines, and make sure your child understands the consequences for engaging in high-risk behavior.
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