Family Solutions Teen Help

For Struggling & Troubled Teen & Young Adult Issues

Archive for the category “Law enforcement”

High-Risk Behaviors Among Youth – Part 1


What Are Risk Behaviors?

High-risk behaviors are those that can have adverse effects on the overall development and well-being of youth, or that might prevent them from future successes and development.

This includes behaviors that cause immediate physical injury (e.g., fighting), as well as behaviors with cumulative negative effects (e.g., substance use). Risk behaviors also can affect youth by disrupting their normal development or prevent them from participating in ‘typical’ experiences for their age group. For example, teen pregnancy can prevent youth from experiencing typical adolescent events such as graduating from school or from developing close friendships with peers.

Because high-risk behaviors can significantly impact the lives of youth and those around them, it is essential that parents, educators and other concerned adults become aware of the prevalence of these behaviors, the factors that increase their likelihood, and what can be done to abate or prevent those risks.

Types And Prevalence Of High-Risk Behaviors

Several high-risk behaviors have been of particular interest to professionals because of their prevalence in youth today.

Many of these behaviors cause a large number of deaths and injury among teens, or have negative impacts on society.

Behaviors Related To Obesity And Unhealthy Dieting

In recent years, the rate of obesity in the U.S. has reached epidemic levels. For this reason, many professionals have started to consider behaviors leading to being overweight and obesity as risky. Nationally, only 66 percent of youth report engaging in vigorous physical activity at least three times during the past week. While an increasing number of youth are overweight or obese, a large number of youth also are engaging in unhealthy dietary behaviors to lose weight.

Teens use unhealthy methods including vomiting, laxatives, unsupervised/non-prescribed diet pills and fasting.

Risky Sexual Behaviors

Engagement in sexual behavior is considered to be another group of high-risk behaviors for youth because of the potential physical (e.g., STDs or sexually transmitted diseases) and socioemotional risks they present. Youth may or may not be ready for the social and emotional implications of sexual activity, and many sexually active youth do not use safe sexual practices. Teens engage in sexual intercourse at a young age – 47 percent of youth nationwide.

Among those who report engaging in sex, only 63 percent report having used a condom during their last intercourse and 17 percent report using alternative methods of birth control. Unprotected sex exacerbates risks because of the potential for developing STDs and the potential for unwanted pregnancy.

Approximately half of the 19 million new STD cases diagnosed per year are of youth ages 15-19; and 13 percent of new HIV/AIDS diagnoses are of youth ages 13-24. Teen pregnancy is both a possible effect of risky behaviors as well as a risk factor in itself. Teen pregnancy has been linked to higher rates of school dropout, as well as other socio-emotional risks. Rates of U.S. teen pregnancy have declined over the last few years. To date, the rate of teen pregnancy is about 7.5 percent for girls between the ages of 15 and 19, which is 36 percent lower than in 1990.

Nonetheless, this rate remains the highest in all the other developed countries (e.g., compared to Canada, Germany, Japan) (Gutmacher Institute, 2006).

Self-injurious Behaviors, Violence And Suicide

Among teens, many of the most self-injurious behaviors are related to driving.

Obtaining a driver’s license is considered as one of the most exciting milestones of the teen years but unfortunately, car accidents make up the leading cause of death among teens. Many injuries are exacerbated (and deaths are caused) by the failure to wear seat belts, being distracted by others in the car, talking on their cell phones, and texting. Approximately 30 percent of youth nationwide report that they rarely or never wear seat belts. The combination of alcohol use and driving also contributes to deaths among teens from car crashes. About 10 percent of teens report driving after drinking, and 36 percent admit riding in a car where the driver had been drinking. Driving-related risk behaviors continue to be a serious problem during the teen years.

Fighting and aggression include another group of self-injurious behaviors. It is second to vehicular accidents as the leading cause of death among those 15-34 years of age.

Nationally, 36 percent of teens report having been involved in physical fighting over the last year with males (43 percent) outnumbering females (28 percent) dramatically. Similarly, both males and females reported carrying a weapon or a gun (19 percent nationally), however males (29 percent) outnumbered females (7 percent) significantly. Finally, suicide is one of the highest risk behaviors among youth today. Close to 17 percent (almost one out of every five) of youth report having considered suicide within the past year and 13 percent actually planned it (national and state numbers are similar). Among teens, 8.4 percent attempt suicide every year. Suicide now is the third leading cause of death among those ages 15-24, with 86 percent of those deaths from males, and 14 percent from females.

Substance Use

Substance use is another group of behaviors that contribute to immediate as well as long-term damage. Drinking and drug use have been linked to motor vehicle accidents, fighting/violence, problematic relationships and social interactions, and various diseases. Drinking and cigarette smoking are among the most common in this group of behaviors.

Over 43 percent of youth nationwide report that they drink alcohol, and 26 percent of youth nationwide admit to heavy drinking (five or more drinks in a row).

Approximately 23 percent of teens admit to being cigarette smokers with 9.4 percent being frequent cigarette users (smoked on 20 of last 30 days). Like self-injurious behaviors, the prevalence of alcohol and cigarette use has decreased over the last few years, but nonetheless continues to be serious risks to adolescent health. Illicit drug use is both a health and public concern because of the obvious negative physical effects it has on users. Effects of illicit drug use include, but are not limited to, brain damage and damage to major physical organs. It also has been linked to a host of other health compromising behaviors such as risky driving, engagement in high-risk sexual behaviors, and violence. Recent estimates suggest that 22 percent of teens use marijuana and that 10 percent of teens used marijuana before the age of 13. Approximately 3 percent use cocaine.

In recent years, methamphetamine use has become a serious concern in the United States. The low-cost of the drug and the ease at which many youth are able to access this substance have contributed significantly to its rapid spread.

The serious, immediate and long-term effects of methamphetamine have made it a top concern for many professionals and policy-makers. Today, about 3 percent of eighth graders, and over 4 percent of 10th and 12th graders report having tried or used methamphetamine nationally.

Par 2 – Relationship Between Adolescence and High-Risk Behaviors

For children who were broken, it is very hard to mend……


by Elia Wise 

For adults who were treated badly as children

For children who were broken, it is very hard to mend…… 

Our pain was rarely spoken and we hid the truth from friends. 

Our parents said they loved us, but they didn’t act that way.

They broke our hearts and stole our worth, with the things that they would say. 

We wanted them to love us.

We didn’t know what we did to make them yell at us and hit us, and wish we weren’t their kid. 

They’d beat us up and scream at us and blame us for their lives. Then they’d hold us close inside their arms and tell us confusing lies of how they really loved us — even though we were BAD, and how it was OUR fault they hit us, OUR fault that they were mad. 

When days were just beginning we sometimes prayed for them to end, and when the pain kept coming, we learned to just pretend that we were good and so were they and this was just one of those days … tomorrow we’d be friends. 

We had to believe it so. We had nowhere else to go. 

Each day that we pretended, we replaced reality with lies, or dreams, or angry schemes, in search of dignity …. until our lies got bigger than the truth, and we had no one real to be.

Our bodies were forsaken. With no safe place to hide, we learned to stop hearing and feeling what they did to our outsides. 

We tried to make them love us, till we hated ourselves instead, and couldn’t see a way out, and wished that they were dead.

We scared ourselves by thinking that and scared ourselves to know, that we were acting just like them –and might ever more be so. 

To be half the size of a grown- up and trapped inside their pain…. To every day lose everything with no savior or refrain… To wonder how it is possible that God could so forget the worthy child you knew you were, when you had not been damaged yet … To figure on your fingers the years till you’d be grown enough to leave the torment and survive away from home, were more than you could count to, or more than you could bear, was the reality we lived in and we knew it wasn’t fair. 

We who grew up broken are somewhat out of time, struggling to mend our childhood, when our peers are in their prime.

Where others find love and contentment, we still often have to strive to remember we are worthy, and heroes just to be alive. 

Some of us are healing. Some of us are stealing. Most are passing the anger on.

Some give their lives away to drugs, or the promise of life beyond. Some still hide from society.

Some struggle to belong. But all of us are wishing the past would not hold on so long. 

There’s a lot of digging down to do to find the child within, to love away the ugly pain and feel innocence again.

There is forgiveness worthy of angel’s wings for remembering those at all, who abused our sacred childhood and programmed us to fall.

To seek to understand them, and how their pain became our own, is to risk the ground we stand on to climb the mountain home. 

The journey is not so lonely as in the past it has been … More of us are strong enough to let the growth begin.

But while we’re trekking up the mountain we need everything we’ve got, to face the adults we have become, and all that we are not.

So when you see us weary from the day’s internal climb … When we find fault with your best efforts, or treat imperfection as purposeful crime … When you see our quick defenses, our efforts to control, our readiness to form a plan of unrealistic goals … When we run into a conflict and fight to the bitter end, remember …. We think that winning means we won’t be hurt again.

When we abandon OUR thoughts and feelings, to be what we believe YOU want us to, or look at trouble we’re having, and want to blame it all on you… When life calls for new beginnings, and we fear they are doomed to end, remember… Wounded trust is like a wounded knee– It is very hard to bend.

Please remember this when we are out of sorts. Tell us the truth, and be our friend. For children who were broken… it is very hard to mend.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Child abuse leaves permanent physical and emotional scars for a lifetime.

Please, if you see a child that looks like they aren’t being treated right: dirty, timid, pronounced startle reflex, skinny, bruises scratches or burns in various stages of healing, PLEASE call your local child abuse hotline, you could save a child. 

Please call Childhelp USA, 800-4-A-Child or your local Child Protective Service agency or Department of Human Services, whichever agency in your state and county accept reports of alleged child abuse to investigate.

All states require certain professionals and institutions to report suspected child abuse, including health care providers and facilities of all types, mental health care providers of all types, teachers and other school personnel, social workers, day care providers and law enforcement personnel. Many states require film developers to report.

Click this link to order this book


Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: