As the parent of a teenager, you're probably well acquainted with the lack of judgement that sometimes appears at this age. Teens are often tempted or pressured by peers into doing things they might not consider otherwise. Even the best efforts on the part of moms and dads can't always keep teens from being tempted to try something. Understanding common teen temptations helps parents know what to talk about and watch for during the teen years.
Most parents worry that their teens will try drugs, or even worse, get hooked on them. This is a legitimate concern because teens often feel invincible and are prone to trying dangerous things, particularly if friends are doing drugs, whether illegal or prescription. Getting caught with drugs can result in a criminal record, making it hard for your teen to get into college or find a part-time job. However, parents who discuss the risk of drugs with their teen greatly reduce the risk that their kids will try them, from 36 to 65 percent, depending on the drug, according to Better Homes and Gardens magazine.
With the hormonal changes that occur during the teen years, boys and girls alike begin to feel attraction and sexual urges toward the opposite sex. This might lead to entering into a sexual relationship during the teen years. Many teens are not emotionally ready for this, and young girls might wind up with an unplanned pregnancy. Both boys and girls are at risk of sexually transmitted diseases. Parents who discuss sex openly and help teens respect their bodies and form healthy relationships can help their children resist the temptation to have sex before they are ready.
Most teens are tempted to try alcohol during their high school years, especially if friends drink it. It's natural for teen to be curious about alcohol, particularly if parents drink occasionally or regularly. Alcohol-related car accidents are the top cause of death during the teen years, according to Palo Alto Medical Foundation. Drinking can lower a teen's inhibitions, and he may do things he wouldn't without the influence of alcohol. This includes having sex, driving while drunk or committing petty crimes. Keep alcohol locked up at home and never provide it to minors. Parents who set clear rules and expectations about using alcohol may lower the chances that their teen will use it.
Most teens use social networking sites, instant messaging or text messaging. Without face-to-face contact, some teens are tempted to share more on the Internet than they would during a live conversation. This can lead to cyber bullying, whether your teen is bullied or is doing the bullying. Child predators lurk online, and your teen may mistakenly give out personal information about himself that could lead to becoming the target of one of these people. Sexting, an activity in which teens share provocative pictures and messages via text messaging, often results in that teen's pictures all over the place, which can result in criminal charges, according to The Seattle Times.