Top Tips

Remember that taking risks is a normal part of growing up and not all young people will get involved in the behaviours in this booklet, but if you think they are, here are some top tips:

1. Keep calm, keep an open mind and listen
Young people who are able to talk to their parents/carers are less likely to take part in risky behaviours.  You can be a source of advice, sympathy and comfort.  To keep this conversation open, don’t  judge or criticise as they will be less likely to tell you what’s going on in the future.

2.  Know where they are, but give them space
Young people are at greater risk if their parents/carers don’t know where they are or what they’re getting up to.  However, they do need privacy as they start worrying about how they look, changes in their bodies and the strange thoughts and feelings they are experiencing.  Give them space and don’t take it personally if they don’t want to talk to you straightaway.

3.  Make your home a safe base
Remember that risk taking and exploring life is normal for your child to grow up and become independent.  Make sure that your home is somewhere they can come back to, feel protected, cared for and are taken seriously.

4.  Reassure them and pick your battles
Young people are dealing with rapid change.  Self-confidence will fluctuate from low to very high, so they need lots of reassurance.  Pick your battles as nagging about small irritations can be counterproductive.

5.  Rules and boundaries
It is reasonable that you should decide what the ground rules are.  Sensible ground rules can be the basis for security and agreement.  These should be clear, agreed where possible, consistent, reasonable and less restrictive as your teenager becomes more responsible.  Punishments or sanctions only work if you’ve agreed them in advance.  Rewards for good behaviour are more important.