Tag Archives: impulsive behaviors

Jan 27

The Teen-age years are a time for erratic behaviors, making mistakes and what some call ‘impulsive’ behaviors. Some of these decisions show up as uncontrolled energy, distractions (lack of concentration) and moment by moment changing ideas about what we want, where will we go today, with whom, etc. It is also associated with frequent irritability and confusion about decisions; therefore, some days may seem ‘impulsive’ because it is easier to follow the group than to be responsible for your own decision- making.

“Impulsive behavior” is defined as, ‘acting suddenly, while ignoring the consequences of the behavior’.It would seem that the word impulsive has been over used and in many cases used as an excuse for behaviors, especially for adolescents. That is why it is important to stress that you are responsible for their decisions and actions. There is never an excuse for harmful impulses!

Here is a list of examples of impulsive actions:

Punching something or being verbally aggressive
‘Borrowing’ without asking
Running away
Spending more money than you have (going in debt)
Unprotected sex, acting out sexually
Drug use
Being dishonest
Breaking the rules
Drinking alcohol
Cutting yourself (self-destruction)
Driving under the influence of an illegal substance or getting into a car with irresponsible peers
Tantrums (slamming doors, throwing things, hitting walls
Destroying property when angry
Being mean, cruel or ‘putting others down’
Smoking cigarettes
Trying to commit suicide
Doing bizarre things with your hair (shave it, color it, etc.)
Driving without a license

We also know we have choices. Some decisions may seem impulsive but we decide on things all the time without even realizing it. The truth is we always think about everything we do even if it doesn’t seem like it at the time. How often have you responded, “Wow, I didn’t even think about it, I just did it.” You did think, it just went by really fast and it may have seemed unimportant; therefore, you could ignore the consequences.

It is important to learn that sudden decisions (or impulsive behaviors which may be harmful) are never an excuse for our actions and you always have a choice! Listen to those things you say to yourself before you act! Learn to hear the justifications and excuses you make to yourself when you ignore what you know is right and wrong.