Definition of An At Risk Youth - At Risk Youth Programs

Definition of an At Risk Youth

Is it tough to be a teenager today? What does at risk youth mean? In fact, what is the at risk youth definition today? There are many social experts who study human behavior and argue that today’s kids are under stress as never before. Gang warfare, street stabbings and shootings, proliferation of drugs, binge drinking and the spread of sexually-transmitted diseases all make life tough for today’s teens. And the tragic result is that so many young people are caught up in a dangerous lifestyle and place their health and even their life at risk.

According to Google, the preferred definition is:

“An at-risk youth is a child who is less likely to transition successfully into adulthood. Success can include academic success and job readiness, as well as the ability to be financially independent. It also can refer to the ability to become a positive member of society by avoiding a life of crime.”

At-risk youth definition according to

The question we hear more often are:

What makes a young person at-risk?”

“What can a parent do to discover if their teen is at-risk?”

“How can you prevent your teen from being placed in the at-risk category?

Here we answer these questions to help identify an at-risk youth.

What makes a young person at risk?

There are many ways of defining ‘at risk’. Your child can be involved in a totally different situation to another teen yet both can be at risk. Gauge if your teen might be at risk by answering the questions below.

If your teenage child is involved in any of these situations, it is possible that they may be one. The more situations the greater the likelihood they are at-risk.

  1. School life. Is your teen in trouble at school? Is your teen failing at school, are their grades dropping and are they in conflict with staff? Are their grades dropping? Do they clash with other students and/or with members of staff? Are they disinterested in school? Are they playing truant?

  2. Family life. Is your teen rebellious? Do they argue often with their parents and/or siblings? Do they threaten to run away or even go missing for periods of time?

  3. The law and crime. Is your teen a thief? Do you notice money missing from your purse or wallet? Obviously if they have been arrested you will know they are in trouble, but has your teen been warned by the police? Do you suspect your teen might be involved in shoplifting or other crimes?

  4. Community. Is your teen running around with the wrong crowd? Do you know where your teen is, especially at night? Do you know what your teen is doing when they go out? Do you know the family of the friends your teen hangs out with?

  5. Aggressive behavior. Is your teen prone to lose their cool beyond what might be considered normal? Are they angry and abusive? Do they threaten you or other family members? Have they dropped long-time friendships with their peers? Is your teen emotionally unstable? Do they react strongly when questioned?

  6. Depression. Is your teen sick? Is your teen spending long periods of time alone perhaps in their room? Do they speak less and make fewer comments on family conversations? Have they been medically examined for depression? Do they seem listless and disinterested in most things? Read more about teen depression.

is your teen at risk behavioral test

  1. Sexuality. Is your teen sexually active? Do you know their partner or partners? Is your teen aware of STDs? Is your teen well-informed when it comes to the dangers of unprotected sex? Are they mature enough to develop a responsible attitude to intimacy? Are they sexually ignorant and likely to be part of an unwanted pregnancy?

  2. Truthfulness. Have you caught out your teen telling lies? Is your teen unable or unwilling to communicate? Have you tried to talk calmly with your teen but hit a brick wall? Are they unwilling to give details of where they’ve been or with whom?

  3. Illegal Substances. Is your teen involved with drugs and/or alcohol? Does their behavior suggest they are involved with drugs?

  4. Self-belief. Does your teen seem to lack confidence? Are they without motivation for most or many things? Do they have an “I don’t care” attitude to life? Have they dropped their bundle? Have they abandoned the things which once took pride of place in their life? 


The above points cover most of how a troubled youth may behave. This may seem to be a simple situation. Your teen son or daughter is skipping school, failing in their grades, stealing money from your purse, fighting with family and friends and/or experimenting with drugs and drinking to excess.

Any parent could not help but see these signs and know that their child was at-risk. But as any parent who has had trouble with their teenager will tell you, sometimes the symptoms are not on public view.

How can a parent identify if their teen is at-risk?

Teens can be extremely clever at hiding their behavior and even a caring parent can be the last to know their child is in trouble. Here are ways a parent can discover if their teen is at-risk.

    • Communicate. It seems a silly thing to suggest but there is communicating with a teen and there is really communicating with a teen. Let’s face it, you as the parent haven’t been a teen for what? Twenty years? Thirty? More than thirty years? What you got up to as a teenager and what kids do today are poles apart. You need to seriously make time to talk with your child.

      Make sure you spend a large part of that regular communication listening. Giving lectures may not help and in fact may make a bad situation worse. You want your teen to respect you and to see that you genuinely care. A teen in trouble who comes to their parent for help stands a much better chance of overcoming their problem. Communicate and keep on communicating.

    • Relate to their teachers. Don’t be a stranger to your kid’s school. You don’t want to embarrass your child by dropping in unannounced but schools are happy to help concerned parents. Find out how your child is going at school. If they are skipping classes or not working hard, there may well be a reason. You need to know this situation and take action before things get out of hand. Keep an unobtrusive eye on your child at school.

How to identify an at risk youth

  • Relate to your child’s friends. Often the company a teen keeps determines their lifestyle. Get to know the friends and the families of these friends. A caring parent on your side will better help you keep tabs on the activities your child gets involved in. It’s not snooping, it’s a concerned parent wanting the best for their child.

  • Take an interest. If your teen is in a sporting team, a drama club or a church choir, make a genuine attempt to be part of the program. It might mean attending performances or giving help with transport. But by being a part of your teen’s life, you will know their dedication, their interest and their behavior.

    It is their actions which can help you identify a problem for an at-risk youth. A lack of enthusiasm for their chosen activity, an unwillingness to attend, dropping out and wanting to choose a less healthy pastime can all be signs to help you identify an underlying problem.

As you can see, parenting a teen can be tricky. But nothing worthwhile is achieved without some hard work and after all, what is more worthwhile than your child being happy and healthy?

Is Your Teen At Risk?

Now, as a parent, you may be asking if you can prevent your teen from being placed in the at-risk category. This problem can be approached in different ways.

Know more about the signs and how to care and counsel an at risk youth here.

If your child fits into some of the categories mentioned above, it is possible your teen is at risk. If they are showing signs of being abusive and aggressive, now is the time to intervene.

Teen Behavioral Assessment - Get Answers Now

Talk to your family doctor and seek professional advice. There are several options you can take in order to address this issue. Adolescent residential treatment centers, boarding schools, wilderness therapy are just some ways to help an at risk youth.

Do not let the situation drift. The health of your teen may be at risk. Take our behavioral test here.


Speak to an expert about Definition of an At Risk Youth and how it may help your child.

Connect with an Admissions Counselor who specializes in Definition of an At Risk Youth to help your teen begin their recovery today.

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