DiscoverTalking To Teens: Expert Tips for Parenting TeenagersEp 94: Why Teens Run Wild & How to Keep Them Safe
Ep 94: Why Teens Run Wild & How to Keep Them Safe

Ep 94: Why Teens Run Wild & How to Keep Them Safe

Update: 2020-07-12
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We have the “talk” with our teens and make sure they at least attend health class. We push our teens to get adequate sleep and nutrition. We put our teens through D.A.R.E. and make clear drugs and alcohol are not acceptable. Vandalism and stealing are even against the law. So Why, why?? we wonder, Why do teenagers still do these things!? And for Chrissake why is it always teens doing the misbehaving? You rarely see groups of 25 year olds, 40 year olds or (spry) 80 year olds participating in reckless and risky behaviors. 

Adults--from parents to deans to coaches--devote so much time and energy into trying to teach adolescents the risks of misbehaving. From broken bones to trauma, we want to help our teens avoid threats to their physical and mental health—so why don’t teens act accordingly? Why are teenagers more likely to take risks than any other age group? Do they really think they’re invincible? 

Teenage risk taking is more complicated than just a single platitude. It’s not just the fact that teen brain’s executive regions are under construction: an influx of hormones muddles things up along with intense peer pressure, whether real or perceived. To understand the interaction between the biology and neurology of the teen brain, this week I spoke with Dr. Jess Shatkin, author of Born to Be Wild: Why Teens Take Risks, and How We Can Help Keep Them Safe. As a practicing psychiatrist in Manhattan and Vice Chair for Education and Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the NYU School of Medicine, Dr. Shatkin has been entrenched in the workings of the teenage brain for decades. 

Dr. Shatkin was curious as to why teenagers make risky decisions even in his early days. The youngest of eight, he watched his older siblings morph and change, from tame tweens to wild teens to mature twentysomethings and adults. When Dr. Shatkin himself was a teen, he realized that he was making decisions he logically wouldn’t otherwise, had he been younger. And with older siblings to look up to, he knew he wouldn’t always feel so, well, wild
While teenage risk taking is more common than we’d like, it turns out teens don’t actually think they are invincible, as many adults have come to believe. We’d be wrong to assume teens feel as invincible as we think they act...

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Ep 94: Why Teens Run Wild & How to Keep Them Safe

Ep 94: Why Teens Run Wild & How to Keep Them Safe

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