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Kids At Risk Or Kids That Risk (Part 1)

A Different Perspective in Facing the Challenges with  Teens Today.

In life, hardly anything can compare with the pain and frustration that parents will often go through with their teenage children. In this blog ‘Kids at Risk or Kids That Risk’, I will attempt to look at some of these issues and challenges.

People will often ask, “Is it a hopeless situation?”, “Are we simply losing our teens?” and “How do we fight this great big problem?”

So firstly, I would like to discuss the term ‘Kids at risk’:

kids at risk pic

The Issue with the Title ‘At Risk’

“We need to save our teens of today” is a common phrase.

Many tend to take on the problems with teens as a rescue mission. But that position is questionable. If it’s the therapists, educators and religious leaders who are chasing after the problem and not the other way round, where the teen is reaching out for help, ‘rescuing’ hardly seems to be what we ought to aim for.

We perceive teens at risk as acting out or as rebelling. The reason; A parent may feel, how could my child not want to be the same as me (Even though it is common for a child to want to be different). Moreover, since they choose to act this way, there must be a cause – a reason. In such cases, commonly experts are brought in, suggesting generalized ideas in parenting and finding faults in ‘the education system’.

The implication of the term ‘kids at risk’ is that there is an apparent danger. But what is this danger? What kind of effect is happening that makes this mission so urgent?

Is it a physical danger, a spiritual danger (religious people will understandably see it this way)?

Is it that they are at risk of not being part of the norm of a community or society in general?

And of course, the biggest anxiety for all parents;”what if they mess up their future in a way that is irreversible?” …This is of course a very real concern.

Defining ‘Teens’

Something we forgot along the way was to define what is a ‘teen’?

A teen can ‘generally’ be described a young person with a curious mind (and raging hormones) who has no need for a sense of responsibility because (s)he has everything supplied for them. This also means that among things which are not of value for a teen is time. In most cases, speaking to a teen about the future, past or present is quite pointless really. What is most important for a teen is their social relationships and status with others. Anything other than that is generally secondary.

For a child who has not done well enough to be able to fit in socially with one type of crowd, they will do ‘anything’ to fit in with another.

Teens That Risk Vs At Risk

Therefore it is my opinion that what is commonly labelled as a ‘kid at risk’, should really be characterized as a ‘kid that risks’, since this is all about a child that is risking so much in order to be able to maintain their social standing.

Back to our perception of the teen as rebellious. Yes, the teen has rebelled, but whilst so many people get caught up in the how and why they became the way they are, it is necessary to look at what is attractive for them now and what does it do for them, i.e. the intention.

Focusing on the Intention

As with any issue, it is far more useful to attempt to comprehend and work with the intention of an issue than to focus on the cause or the effect. Especially in a case where the effect of the teen’s behavior is something that the adults involved with the teen can often be experiencing more than the teen who is so called ‘at risk’.

Relating to a teen on the level of the intention of the risks they are taking can open up never ending possibilities.

Who is At Risk?

From a holistic as well as realistic perspective, there are many who are at risk, among them, parents,educational systems and the religious establishments. Those are the areas that there will never be enough focus. But when working with a child or teen it is worth checking the usefulness of the label at risk

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