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By Amy L. Sutton

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Sample text

Although there are many styles, certain patterns can be seen, such as the cautious risk-taker, the middle-of-the-roader, the adventurer or high-end risk-taker, the teen whose risk-taking increases when he or she is with friends. Risk-taking can be accelerated in one area—social, physical, intellectual, artistic, or sexual, for example—and not in others. Helping a child or teen understand or define his or her own risktaking pattern is important. This includes helping the child understand how and why he or she makes both healthy and unhealthy choices.

Creative activity such as joining a band or the production of a play Running away, staying out all night, living on the streets Learning or practicing a creative art form such as photography, pottery, video, dance, or creative writing Unprotected sexual activity Learning to talk about sex and relationships, working on open communication with partners and parents Gang violence, weapons, bullying, scapegoating Seeking out new friends, volunteering in the community, participating in a student exchange program, transferring to a new school if necessary Shoplifting, stealing Getting a part-time job such as baby-sitting, camp or after-school counselor, retail clerk in clothing or music store, tutoring Guiding a Child or Teen in Risk Assessment Healthy risk-taking is a positive tool in an adolescent’s life for discovering, developing, and consolidating his or her identity.

Many everyday occurrences offer a natural way to ease into the conversation. Maybe it’s a scene from a movie or TV show. Perhaps a song lyric or news story. Use these, or anything else that seems appropriate, as conversation starters. And do it subtly. s Dole out bite-sized bits. $ONT TRY TO COVER THE WHOLE SUBJECT IN ONE SITTING )TS OVERWHELMING AND UNCOMFORTABLE FOR YOUR CHILD and you. So toss out small bits of information and opinion at a time. Little by little, your kids will get the big picture and they’ll appreciate not getting the big parental lecture.

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