Risk-taking and young people

What do we know about young people and what is going on in their bodies? We know that being young means being able to do physical things you can do only at this time of your life, and never again. We know that thrill-seeking is part of growing up in a way unique to adolescence; we know that there is heightened sensitivity and we know there is lower impulse control. We know these things because we always kind of knew them, but we now know them through the latest brain research which confirms what parents really don’t need reminding of, although it’s resassuring to know what the research is confirming. So it’s not new, even though the ways of measuring it are. So what’s changed? Well, how would you answer this question: Are you grown up? And a second question: Are you an adult? Many of us are wary of saying ‘yes’ to the first of these, but most people past 30 are prepared to own up to being an ‘adult.’ So what does this mean for our young people? Ask young people and it quickly becomes clear that pathways to adulthood are uncertain. For many young people, they do not know how to grow up, nor when they are grown up. So with this as background, this seminar looks at the nature of risk-taking from both a physiological and a sociological perspective and taking into account what’s different about our world of today. And we shall explore these ideas with a focus on ‘what can we do?’ as individual parents, as a school, as a community and as a society. The seminar also looks at the up-side of risk-taking; the need for humans to risk so that they might learn and develop, and what young people in trouble need to risk to bring about important life-enhancing change in their lives. This seminar is research-based, interactive and practical.