Has your teenager had a lot of accidents and injuries lately? A series of accidents or obviously reckless behavior can be a sign of depression, even suicidal feelings, and professional counseling may be in order. If your teen doesn’t seem to have serious emotional problems but is still accident prone, try the following strategies:
• First, set clear limits based on your teen’s maturity level. Not all teenagers, for example, are emotionally mature enough to drive at sixteen. Postponing his driver’s privileges for a year or two won’t win you popularity points, but may save his life.
• Second, discuss the influence of peer pressure and peer acceptance on risk taking. Is your teen feeling pressure to take risks to get attention or acceptance from peers? Talk with him about how one can have fun without risking life or limb.
• Third, make a family contract regarding safe use of vehicles or other equipment with definite consequences for violation.
• Finally, model responsible behavior for your teen. Don’t take risks you don’t want your teens to take.
An expert in the field of adolescent behavior, Ms. McCoy has authored eleven books on the subject including the best selling “The Teenage Body Book”. Additionally she has written hundreds of articles for major national magazines. Coordinator of the Clinical Ph.D. Program at California School of Professional Psychology and Staff Counselor at the Center for Individual and Family Counseling in North Hollywood, California.