Adolescence is an amazing time of social and emotional growth. This normal period of soul-searching, identity-forming, independence-seeking, and boundary-pushing can produce high levels of stress for parents in the thick of raising teens.

The Good News

For parents with teenagers, I want to share some great ulcer-relieving statistics from the latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey published by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). According to a survey of over 14,000 teens from 9th to 12th grade, teens are engaging in less high risk behaviors today than they were in 1991.

The Statistics

  • The number of teens who don’t wear seat belts has decreased.
  • The number of teens who report getting into a car with a drunk driver has decreased.
  • The number of teens with who have had sex intercourse has decreased.
  • Of those who have engaged in sexual intercourse, the number of teens with multiple sex partners has decreased while condom use has increased.
  • Teen cigarette smoking and alcohol use has decreased.

The next time you hear “teens are up to no good these days,” remember these statistics. Teens are up to more good now than they were a 17 years ago!

What can we do to keep this positive trend ongoing?

  1. Keep the lines of communication open with your teen.
  2. Give your teen lots of positive attention and praise.
  3. Encourage your teens to join organized activities such as sports, clubs, and church groups.
  4. Lobby for health education classes at your child’s school.
  5. Model healthy behaviors such as seat belt use and avoidance of cigarettes.
  6. Eat dinner together as a family. Family dinners have been shown to reduce substance abuse and stress in teens (and parental stress too). J

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Khanh-Van Le-Bucklin