What are some rebellious things teenagers do

Teens and Risky Behavior: Why They Do It

French anthropologist David Le Breton says that around 15% of young people engage in risky behavior. One interesting thing about this number is that it is the same all over the world.

Last update: June 13, 2020

The French anthropologist David Le Breton has long dealt with the subject of “young people and risky behavior”. He did this from a humanistic point of view, taking into account various factors such as emptiness and social pressure in the modern world.

Risky behavior is essentially when a person volunteers and repeatedly puts him in a dangerous situation. When we say dangerous, we mean that it could endanger your physical or mental health, or even your life.

Puberty seems to be a time when this type of behavior is particularly common. And so adolescents practice many forms of risky behavior. The following are just a few examples: You have unprotected sex, engage in an “extreme sport”, or are daring. In addition, there are many forms of suicidal ideation, such as driving at extreme speeds, going to dangerous places, or hanging out with dangerous people.

“Young people always have the same problem: they have to rebel and adapt at the same time. They have now resolved this situation by opposing their parents and copying each other. "

-Quentin Crisp-

Youth and Risky Behavior

The adrenaline factor

Many teenagers who act risky say that they are looking for experiences that add adrenaline and allow them to experience intense emotions. The idea is that it makes them feel more alive. For them this means “living life intensely”.

While exploration is key in adolescence, not all teenagers feel the same urge to push their boundaries and barriers. It is also true that not all teenagers feel they are “missing out on life” if they don't do these things.

Every year there is tons of news about teenagers who have died from risky behaviors. We talk about things like quickly sipping a bottle of tequila or jumping off a rooftop into a pool. Some teenagers may even join gangs or hang out with people doing illegal things "for the experience".

Teens and Risky Behavior: How It Develops

Just a few decades ago, young people tended to channel this desire in other ways. Like most things risky behavior is also prone to current trends. According to anthropologist David Le Breton this type of behavior became increasingly popular in the 1970s.

He regards drug addiction as the first manifestation of risky behavior at this stage in life. From the 1960s, young adults began using drugs. This was already a common practice in the 1970s. He also believes the anorexia “epidemic” began towards the end of the 20th century.

We started seeing the first teenage mass shooters in the 1990s. The gang mentalities also increased more and more around this time. The "scarification" or the scratching or cutting of the skin also became popular in the 1990s. In addition, tattoos and piercings are a painful but tolerated fashion trend.

There have been other high-risk behavioral trends in recent years. For example, the ominous "challenges" that teenagers enter into on social media or when teenagers contact radical groups and then later join them themselves.

What's going on with our teenagers these days?

Le Breton says that we see more and riskier behaviors in teenagers for one fundamental reason: everyone ultimately fights for themselves. There is a widespread decline in old institutions in our society. One of the most important is the family.

Similar things are happening with larger social institutions like the churches, schools and political powers. These social forces are no longer a point of reference for younger generations.

Adolescents engage in risky behaviors in order to discover their limits and the line between what they consider bearable and unbearable. The problem is, they don't always find that limit.

If a young person has no role models, his relationship with the world is very fragile. These youngsters will begin a long search for meaning that often leads to this dangerous exploration.

Although many young people grow up in the same house as their parents, they are worlds away from them these days. And sure, parents don't always have to be by their side, but they do have to be in their children's lives. Unfortunately, this is not always the case.

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