Comparing Twenty Years of At Risk Behavior in Teens

Teen-smoking If you have ever wondered if kids today are more or less likely to participate in at risk behaviors than kids from 15 or 20 years ago, then have we got the study for you!

The Youth Risk Behavior Survey has tracked a number of risky (AKA stupid) behaviors in teenagers for the past two decades. Their findings, which compare behaviors ranging from seat belt use to sexual activity, are quite interesting.

You can see a copy of the report in simple chart form here.

Some of it surprised me. But while there were a few trends in both the positive and negative directions, most of the shifts were slight. The reality is that teenagers have a tendency to do foolish things. They always have and they always will. Our job is parents is to coach them to have a moral compass based upon God's nature and His Truth, not on the tendencies of their peers or the values of culture.

With most at risk behaviors, our tendency is to think "not my kids." But these statistics represent somebody. So we must continue to have the conversations that matter with our teenagers and give them the clear and sometimes harsh guidance they so desperately need.