Eleven ways to get teenagers taking healthy, positive risks this summer – The Irish Times

No matter your child’s age, “get them to do something (today) that they couldn’t do yesterday,” says Dr. Mary O’Kane, psychology and education teacher. We need to encourage teens to take small, healthy, positive risks every day.

What those risks may look like depends on the maturity level, personality and circumstances. Parents should be the best judge of this.

But here are a few suggestions:

  1. Give younger teens at least a brief taste of being home alone. Although official advice from Tusla, the children and family charity, is that children under 14 should not be left home alone “for more than a very short time”, while teenagers over 16 “may do so”. being left home alone.”
  2. If they are not in the habit of going to shops and supermarkets alone, this might be the time to send them shopping.
  3. Let them go out and meet friends, relax the rules around time limits, check-ins, curfews, etc., because they gain your trust.
  4. Don’t keep an eye on their phone all the time, says psychotherapist Stella O’Malley, because it’s very liberating for them to feel like a parent doesn’t know where they are. That may sound like irresponsible parenting, but she argues that if teens never experienced freedom from virtual monitoring until age 18, it can be overwhelming for them when they go to college.
  5. Let them use public transport where available, rather than taking them everywhere.
  6. Guide them to adventure sports and other challenging activities, but if they seem bored, it may be because they’re just being “pseudo-risky,” says O’Malley.
  7. Take them on an activity, such as kayaking, rock climbing or ropes and ziplining, that you may be afraid of. Showing them your fear but doing it anyway, perhaps with their encouragement, will give you an inspiring insight into dealing with emotions.
  8. Facilitate trips for children to some of the best adventure playgrounds in your region and let them have fun.
  9. You don’t have to go outside for summer challenges. Drama camp, for example, pushes many a teenager out of their comfort zone, says psychologist Dr. Malie Coyne, and carries the risk of failure through the staging of a show.
  10. It’s important to keep them from retreating to their smartphones and other devices for a summer. You may want to agree to no telephone during the day and rethink the location of TV monitors and other gaming equipment in your home so that using them on a summer day becomes less comfortable.
  11. If you are traveling as a family, encourage them to interact independently with ‘strangers’, whether they are waiters, transport or shopping staff, tourist attraction guides or ticket takers etc., rather than doing everything on their behalf.
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