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Cause & Effect Essay: Risky Behavior Among Teenagers

Parents, health care professionals and teens themselves all have a wide range and varied view on the cause and effects of risky behavior patterns that teens partake in.

What parents, teachers and health care professionals try to instill – things like boundaries, respect, appropriateness, education against things like sexual promiscuity and inappropriate activity, alcohol and drug abuse and delinquency is undermined by being sensationalized, glamorized and exploited in the media.

This makes it virtually impossible to set, secure and enforce any sort of integrity, boundaries and realistic expectations in teens, as these risky behaviors are just being shrugged off as being normal, teenage adolescent behaviors.


The causes of risky behavior among teenagers is a huge debate between mental health care professionals, doctors, parents, teens and young adults. In essence it is important to understand that all teenagers – even ones in the very same home – have their own experiences and set of circumstances that contribute towards the choice they make to partake in risky teenage behavior. A number of primary causes can include the following:


Teens who feel they are not validated – firstly at home, secondly among their peers, will go to great lengths to prove their worth. Parents and leaders who do not actively validate their teens by talking to them, respecting them, encouraging them and take a sincere interest in who they are and what they like, are opening the doors wide for teens to engage in risky behavior to feel validated and gain the affirmation they are not getting elsewhere.


Emotional and physical security is paramount to the fundamental stability of any teen. Without these, teens will feel out of touch and will naturally gravitate towards groups or individuals who may make them feel secure, but who also may be responsible for leading them astray. A classic example being where teens join gangs – for a sense – altered from those looking in – of family and emotional security.


Without boundaries and structure in place, teens don’t feel that they have limits; they won’t feel as if they are important enough to need limits and will push and push imaginary boundaries to see how far they can get until they are noticed; heading right out into the world of substance, alcohol abuse and other risky behaviors.


The effects of risky teen behavior can be devastatingly far reaching; sexual promiscuity can lead to pregnancy and devastating, life threatening STDS that may result in them never being able to have kids. Substance abuse and drug abuse has extremely negative effects that can lead to addiction and death.

Teenage delinquency can lead to teens landing in jail and serving time, ending up with a criminal record that will be with them forever – having implications on future job and travel opportunities.


Once parents and teens understand the causes and effects of such behavior, they may be empowered to find a way to address them before risky behaviors choices lead to teens starting out in life having to face their bad choice in life forever.

Contributors Bio

Contributor photo Lona Glenn
Los Angeles
Lona graduated from Los Angeles City College. While being a lecturer in several high school institutions Lona founded an online educational project Tutorsclass.Read more
Contributor photo Maria Castle
Davis, CA
I studied education and currently work as a tutor for school-age children. I've worked as a volunteer in many different international social projects and as a camp counselor every summer.Read more

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