Date of this Version



© 1996, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


This NebGuide defines the relationship between adolescence and high risk behaviors, helps parent and adolescent identify external and internal assets and suggests parent strategies for promoting and increasing those assets.

American youth today are often considered to be in a state of crisis. Approximately half of all adolescents are at moderate to high risk of engaging in one or more self-destructive behaviors, including unsafe sex, teenage pregnancy and childbearing; drug and alcohol abuse; under achievement, failure, or dropping out of school; and delinquent or criminal behaviors. Many of these problem behaviors are interrelated. Some of these behaviors are related to the multitude of physical, social, and emotional changes adolescents are experiencing. Some are related to dysfunction in families; violence in the streets and at home; and media which portrays alcohol and drug use, extramarital sex, and violence as often-occurring, normal behaviors.