The importance of engaging and coaching parents to reduce adolescent risk

It’s a statistic you’re probably familiar with: 3 out of 4 adolescent deaths in the US today are due to identifiable and preventable risk behaviors. Common risk behaviors that include suicide, substance use, unsafe sexual behaviors and unintentional injuries and violence.

When it comes to keeping our teens safe, the phrase “it takes two to tango” rings especially true. Adolescents need access to a trusted adult in a private setting where they can disclose information that may be detrimental to their health or well-being. That’s where professional risk screening and counseling comes in. If a health care professional is providing risk behavior counseling and a parent isn’t enforcing the same practices and principles at home, it can be a wasted and ineffective effort. Parent influence is so important. Family closeness and attachment have been shown to be one of the most important factors in leading to less drug use, delayed sexual experiences, and fewer suicide attempts in teens.

Sounds complicated? It doesn’t have to be. Encouraging and supporting youth to make safe decisions is truly a partnership. It’s your role as a health professional to call the plays in “practice”, but it’s the role of the parent to coach and shape their children to perform well when it’s game time.

So, how do we most effectively work together?

First, understanding exactly what is happening (and why it is happening) during adolescence and utilizing effective communication strategies can help you support adolescents during this physically and emotionally challenging time.

Then, it’s up to you to equip parents with the understanding, tools and direction to guide their children to smart behaviors that keep them out of harm’s way.

If you need some support and resources for parent coaching, I encourage you to join me and other health care professionals from around the country as we come together to explore how to improve communication and engage parents to reduce adolescent risk.

Register today for the webinar on Thursday, December 8 at 3 p.m.: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/389295664702592514

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