Rebels with a cause? Smart risk taking by teens may be the key to success in adulthood

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  • raybies Layton, UT
    Jan. 9, 2013 2:03 p.m.

    One key factor in successful adulthood is reaching adulthood alive.

  • Sterling Allan Ephraim, UT
    Jan. 9, 2013 10:39 a.m.

    Childhood and teen years are awesome, because generally speaking, in "fun" activities, you have a wider margin for error, and with that margin, you can learn what the normal margins of safety are. And that then carries into other areas of life as a metaphor you can subconsciously draw upon.

    It's like learning to drive in slippery conditions. The best way to do it is on a large parking lot with plenty of room. You purposely go in and out of control. And by doing so, you learn where the margins of safety are. You can learn more in an hour on such a parking lot, having "fun", not thinking of it as a learning experience, than a year of driving on the road.

    Another analogy is group dating. Teens are encouraged to date in groups. Because there are a lot of other people around, there is a wider margin of safety. If you did a certain behavior privately, you would probably "crash" (e.g. get pregnant), but in a group setting, having other people around gives you the strength to pull out of the bad situation so it doesn't go badly.

  • joseywales Park City, UT
    Jan. 9, 2013 10:12 a.m.

    Screwdriver- NGLL not NOLO. Not Going to Live Long. Anyway, it's hard to watch your kids do crazy things, but then I remember that I too did some sketchy things growing up. I have a friend who lived his whole life as careful as can be and now has 2 forms of untreatable cancer. He's 40. His regret is not doing more exciting things, and not putting himself out there more. I love the little plaque my wife gave me that says, "Life's journey isn't to arrive at the grave in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways while shouting, Whoo Hoo, what a ride"! I'll take that any day, and my kids (extreme sports junkies) will too.

  • Runner Chandler, AZ
    Jan. 9, 2013 10:08 a.m.

    This is an absolutely foolish article and the so-called experts are completely wrong, which is probably the best and only learning this article has to offer.

    The comment posted by "Conservative Scientist" is quite accurate. There is a huge difference between reckless behavior and healthy risks, or I would even say, challenging yourself beyond your comfort zone. But even then, while there are benefits to that, who is to say that you have to go beyond your talents and personality to be a good parent or successful person. Is the development of healthy self-esteem really dependent upon successful risk taking? Or can a person be successful and confident by developing their personal talents and enjoying who they are?

    Risky teenage behavior should not be glorified, whether on YouTube or articles like this. The potential consequences are just too dangerous and the rewards, despite what is claimed here, do not justify the action.

    Teenagers should be taught to develop their talents, go forward with what they feel comfortable with and be careful in, or avoid all together, dangerous environments.

    In my mind, articles like this is what is classified as irresponsible reporting.

  • Screwdriver Casa Grande, AZ
    Jan. 9, 2013 9:17 a.m.

    Kids call it "YOLO" - You only live once so do crazy thing (as long as you video tape it for youtube also seems to be key)

    I call it "NOLO" - not going to live long.

  • Willybee71 GARDEN CITY, NY
    Jan. 9, 2013 8:30 a.m.

    Only had moments to skim the article and comments....
    My only first thought; so long as they stay away from drugs. Quite a well documented and unfortunately rampant risk taken by too many. Consequences and risks are incalculable except in that they are often sadly terminal.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Jan. 9, 2013 8:16 a.m.

    I finally completely agree with mountain man. I thought that one of the primary points of the article was that youthful risk needs to be influenced by parents, through teaching, example, and of course some monitoring. However, to try and shield your child from risk is first of all usually futile, but secondly damaging.

    This is one of the reasons it's tough to be a parent..because risk, which means exposure to danger. It can be simply embarassing and hurtful like a rude no to a date request or it can be as damaging as death. I have friends who's youthful behavior made us think they wouldn't make it to adulthood..but had sterling careers as judges. Clearly their parents were doing something right..and they had some good luck. I also have a friend who's son displayed risky behavior who really didn't try and influence that behavior and the child didn't make it to their 19th birthday. Unlike the first instance it was a matter of running out of luck...however they kept putting themselves in risky circumstances, thinking the benefits outweighed the dangers..they were wrong.

  • Nan BW ELder, CO
    Jan. 9, 2013 8:06 a.m.

    My brother was a self-taught pilot, adventurer in the extreme. My mother said that he would turn out allright, if he lived long enough. He did; he was a successful businessman in his early 20s. However, the ultra-light bug caught him. At age 28 he died in an ultra-light flight gone wrong when the wings distored. He had been flying for ten years, but did not calculate the risk of flying an "aircraft" that wasn't exactly right.

    As many other posters have said, the article, and especially the headline, have distortions too. Helping teens channel impulsive behavior into activities that involve risks, but not outright reckless risks, is appropriate parenting. When our flying son wanted to become a pilot, I took him to the airport for training (age 14) because I wanted him to learn using conventional aircraft with trained instructors so he would at least not just go fly an ultra-light without having some good background first. It actually worked. He developed a love for those 'planes at general aviation, and survived his accident in one.

  • mountain man Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 9, 2013 7:10 a.m.

    Sometimes asking a crush out in a date is risky. If you think there is little interest on their end-- it gets very risky.
    Taking risks-- ever heard of Richard brandson. He had a childhood full of taking risks.
    I think he is driven by risk. He talks about taking risks as a child in his autobiography.
    Look at helicopter parents who try to shield their kids from any risk or failure.
    The kids turn out messed up.
    Healthy risk taking is good.

    Jan. 9, 2013 6:42 a.m.

    I've known several of these types, most never make it to their next birthday. Risky behavior is just that "risky."

  • Albert Maslar CPA (Retired) Absecon, NJ
    Jan. 9, 2013 6:16 a.m.

    Yet again the "experts' are nothing more than expert in declaring themselves to be expert. Common sense is the missing ingredient and seemingly that cannot be taught except by example in a true mother and father family home and environment that in too many cases is ancient history.

  • aminahyaquin GALLIPOLIS FERRY, WV
    Jan. 9, 2013 5:22 a.m.

    Yes, this is to me the usual kind of spurious social "Science" research with pop impact for the researcher and no lasting consequence becuase the conclusions from the study are so inferior to common sense and analytical asessment from empirical "studies" .

    MASTERY is the joy and delight for ALL children irrespctive of age. there would be no drop-out problem in our nation if building kids' capacities instead of their learned helplessness and failure, is what is learned in school.

    Calculating risks and being courageous (not risky) is what helpes young people, at any age develop the self-confidence that they need ti become autonomous.

    So much of this article is frustratingly close to some real understanding of the process of a child and a teen anvigating adulthood, but some of it is grossly wrong.

    AS a young teen kids need to experience the outside world under the tutelage of healthy adults, just as much as they can benefit from netowrking with otehrs in their sphere.

    The fact that concerned adults outside a child's family basically abandon teens to their own devices accounts a great deal for the mess the world is in.Yet we prolong adolescence lifelong. Geh!

  • byufan1993 Provo, , UT
    Jan. 9, 2013 12:26 a.m.

    Exactly conservative scientist! Thank you

  • conservative scientist Lindon, UT
    Jan. 8, 2013 9:55 p.m.

    The title is misleading and poor. "Healthy Risks" (substance of article) are very very different from "Reckless behavior" (title). Trying to equate the two and stating that reckless behavior leads to success in life is ludicrous. I have seen, for example, the lives of many youths completely ruined by getting addicted to drugs (reckless behavior) and this in no way prepares them for future success. Other examples abound. Asking a crush out on a date or doing something hard is not "reckless behavior". The title would be much better as "Helping youths learn to take healthy risks and learn from them can prepare them for future life".