Family System

Consider what actions might prompt the following exchange between a parent and his or her adolescent child:

Parent: “What were you thinking?”

Child: “I wasn’t.”

Parent: “What if you got caught? What if you hurt yourself or someone else?”

Child: “It’s not a big deal. All of my other friends were there, too.”

The adolescent age is marked by impulsive decisions and risk-taking behaviors. However, despite the frustrations of parents and caregivers, there are logical explanations for teens’ sometimes seemingly senseless choices. Scientists have found that the prefrontal cortex, the lobe that controls problem solving, goal planning, behavior adjustment, impulse control, foresight, and various other functions, is still very much under development during the adolescent years. This means that the brain is not fully prepared to deal with complex decisions, peer pressure, or situations of immediate versus delayed gratification. As a result, adolescents lack the capability to weigh the benefits versus the risks of a given choice as an adult might.

As a counselor, it is likely you will work with adolescents who engage in harmful risk-taking behaviors. You must be able set aside your own beliefs about “acceptable” behaviors to better support and counsel these adolescents. For example, what might you say to an adolescent who has been court-ordered to see you after multiple underage drinking charges? What about the adolescent who participates in unhealthy eating practices to achieve a desired body image? The one who is sexually active? The daredevil?

For this Discussion, review the media, “Adolescence.” Identify the adolescent (aged 11–18) in your assigned family. Consider how risk-taking behaviors are impacting the adolescent and his or her family. (THE PAPER WILL BE WRITTEN IN REGARDS TO THE JEONG’S FAMILY) You can access the Jeong information at this link:

  Laureate Education (Producer). (2013a). Adolescence [Video file].

Post by Day 3 the identity of your adolescent client. Summarize the developmental crises he or she is facing. Then, explain at least two risk-taking behaviors in which the adolescent is involved and at least one protective factor that might be influencing his or her level of functioning. Finally, explain the impact of these behaviors on the adolescent and his or her family. Justify your response with references to this week’s Learning Resources and the current literature. Be specific.


(Must use) Broderick, P. C., & Blewitt, P. (2015). The life span: Human development for helping professionals (4th ed.).

Chapter 9, “Physical, Cognitive, and Identity Development in Adolescence” (review pp. 324-367)

Chapter 10, “The Social World of Adolescence” (pp. 368-407)

Bessant, J. (2008). Hard wired for risk: Neurological science, ‘the adolescent brain’ and developmental theory. Journal of Youth Studies, 11(3), 347–360.

Guilamo-Ramos, V., Jaccard, J., Dittus, P., & Bouris, A. M. (2006). Parental expertise, trustworthiness, and accessibility: Parent-adolescent communication and adolescent risk behavior. Journal of Marriage and Family, 68(5), 1229–1246.

Jaccard, J., Blanton, H., & Dodge, T. (2005). Peer influences on risk behavior: An analysis of the effects of a close friend. Developmental Psychology, 41(1), 135–147.

Kuss, D. J., & Griffiths, M. D. (2011).Excessive online social networking: Can adolescents become addicted to Facebook? Education and Health, 29(4), 68–71.

Reich, S. M., Subrahmanyam, K., & Espinoza, G. (2012). Friending, IMing, and hanging out face-to-face: Overlap in adolescents’ online and offline socialnetworks. Developmental Psychology, 48(2), 356–368.

Strasburger, V. (2010). Children, adolescents, and the media: Seven key issues. Pediatric Annals, 39(9), 556–564.

Sullivan, C. J., Childs, K. K., & O’Connell, D. (2010). Adolescent risk behavior subgroups: An empirical assessment. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 39(5), 541–562.


Introduction (no heading)

Thesis statement

-Overview of adolescent development, challenges, tasks, and identity formation

Presenting Issues

-Brief summary of client and presenting issues, including at least two risk-taking behaviors

Possible purpose of the risk-taking behaviors (from developmental perspective — see theories)

Protective factor(s)


-Potential impact of behaviors on adolescent’s development

Potential impact of behaviors on family system


-Synthesize how adolescent behaviors relate to identity development, using client as example

Relevance of this knowledge when counseling adolescents

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