We all know that teens are natural risk-takers. Unfortunately, much of this risk-taking involves negative stuff, like drinking, doing drugs, or making poor choices when it comes to sex.
So would it surprise you to know that taking risks can actually be an incredibly positive thing for teen girls to do?
According to a study by Teens Today, teenagers who challenge themselves to take positive risks:
* are 20% more likely than teens who don’t take positive risks to avoid alcohol and drugs
* are 42% more likely to avoid drinking because of concerns about academic performance
* consider themselves to be more responsible, confident, successful and optimistic than their non-risk taking peers
* think through the potential negative outcomes of destructive behavior before engaging in it
For teen girls, the news is even better. According to Girls Inc., “A girl thrives when she knows what she wants, takes risks to go after it, and believes in her ability and her right to enjoy all her successes.”
Positive risk taking can lead to a tremendous boost in self-esteem and self-confidence…two qualities that are often in scarce supply for many girls. With higher self-esteem and confidence, girls make smarter choices, are empowered to speak out, feel more able to pursue their dreams, and are much less likely to let someone treat them badly.
The bigger the risk, the bigger the rewards.
There’s nothing like taking a risk that rocks you to your core to get a new perspective on just how strong, worthy, capable, and powerful you are. If you’ve ever watched someone do a rope challenge course (or maybe you’ve done one yourself), then you’ve seen the impact that taking a risk and moving beyond the comfort zone can have.
The good news is, you don’t have to walk on a tightrope suspended between two poles thirty feet off the ground to reap the positive side effects of risk taking.
Want to take a walk on the wild side? Try out one of these positive risks and see what happens:
- join a new sports team
- audition for a play
- run for class officer
- sign up for the debate team
- go to a wilderness camp
- go rock climbing
- raise your hand more in class
- do a ropes course
- defy the fashion trends and be a style noncomformist
- participate in an Outward Bound excursion
- replace the words “I can’t” with “I’ll try” in your vocabulary
- volunteer with an organization
- reach out and make a new friend outside your circle
- join an after school adventure club
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Need some more inspiration? Read Gutsy Girls: Young Women Who Dare (Free Spirit Publishing), by Tina Schwager, Michelle Schuerger, and Elizabeth Verdick.