Helping your teen transition into young adulthood and become a functional member of society is no easy task. As a parent, you need to find the right balance between guidance freedom; between rules and liberties.
Your teen is at an age when he/she needs to develop the skills necessary to cope with life. That means getting a taste of ‘the real life’ and learning from new experiences while steering clear of decisions and mistakes that could haunt them for the rest of their life.
It’s a delicate balance between putting themselves out there and keeping a safe distance from adversity and unnecessary risks.
And this is where you, as a parent, can help your teen transition into healthy and fulfilling adult life.
What do teens need to become healthy adults?
Adolescence is a period of self-discovery; a phase in which your child is driven by sensation seeking. From a neurological standpoint, teens are primed for risk-taking but often fail to consider the outcome of their decisions.
In a recent post by Psychology Today, positive psychologist Elizabeth Elizardi talks about risk-taking and why this behavior is crucial for teen development.
If you think about it, taking risks is what helps us build confidence and develop self-efficacy. For a growing adolescent on the cusp of adulthood, taking the occasional ‘leap of faith’ represents a valuable opportunity for growth.
But if teens tend to overlook the potentially negative consequences of their decisions, how can we keep them safe without eliminating risks?
Teen transition: Nurturing positive risk taking
One of the critical factors in successful teen transition is positive risk taking. That means, helping your child find the right balance between positive and negative risks.
But what exactly constitutes a positive risk?
According to Natasha Duell and Laurence Steinberg, positive risks are:
- beneficial for the adolescent’s well-being
- legal and socially acceptable
- ‘safe’ regarding the severity of potential negative consequences.
Positive risk-taking can target various areas of your teen’s life, from physical and social risks to academic and performance risks. For example, you can encourage your teen to try a new sport, attend a rally, or hold presentations in front of an audience.
During your teen’s transition into young adulthood, positive risk-taking is what sets the foundation for personal and professional growth. Talk to your teen about the benefits of positive risks and help him/her become a healthy and successful adult.
To learn more about teen diagnoses, click here.