Impulsive Behavior in Teens: Ways to Cope


Parenting a teen can be difficult, especially when they always seem to be acting impulsively and, at times, recklessly. While some impulsivity is normal for teens as they learn to make their own decisions and develop their sense of self, there are some behaviors that are more risky. If your teen constantly acts on impulse, it’s important to understand the root cause behind these actions so that you’re able to cope with and support your teen. Here’s what you need to know.

Impulses Due to Drugs & Alcohol

Behaving impulsively and taking risks is common when under the influence of drugs and alcohol. If this is the case for your teen, it might be time to discuss safety around drug use and to teach them the risks associated with it. If they are struggling with an addiction, it’s important to help them seek help from a mental health professional.


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Impulses Due to BPD

A symptom of Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD, can be risky, impulsive behavior. These can include spending sprees, substance abuse, unsafe sex, binge eating and reckless driving, typically as a result of poor emotional management. If your teen is living with BPD, connecting with a mental health professional can help them to develop positive emotional coping skills and lower their impulsivity.

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Impulses Due to ADHD

Teens with ADHD, or Attention Deficit Disorder, can sometimes have a hard time controlling their impulses. Using behavior therapy can help your teen understand the consequences for their negative actions, as well as the positive outcomes of their constructive actions. This can help your teen to develop healthy decision-making skills, which can lessen their negative impulses.


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Addressing Responsibility

Whether or not your teen is impulsive because of one of the aforementioned reasons, it’s important to teach them the consequences of their actions and that they are responsible for the choices they make. Be firm on guidelines that you establish and encourage them when they choose well.

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Impulsive Behavior in Teens: How to Cope

Does your teen act impulsively, taking more risks than necessary? Here are some ways you can learn to understand their behavior and find ways to cope with it.

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Feature image Marjan Lazarevski