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C. Hands-on Parenting Cuts Down Risky Teen Behavior

Narrator: This is Science Today. A recent survey has found about one in five American teenagers say they live with adults who fail to consistently set rules and monitor their behavior. These teens are at a four-time greater risk for smoking, drinking and using illegal drugs than those with more "hands-on" parents. Psychiatrist Lynn Ponton of the University of California, San Francisco, says parents play a big part when it comes to their teens taking risks and should watch their own behavior.

Ponton: Our teens really model after how we take our risk. Whether we wear a seatbelt, whether or not we're still smoking cigarettes. So I think parents can look at their own risk taking and really think about how to revamp that or at least how to talk with their teen about it.

Narrator: Ponton says if teens are going the risky route, parents should learn how to communicate effectively.

Ponton:The lecture status or even the discussion doesn't always work. I think hanging out with them after school, lying on the couch or the floor together, driving them if that's your choice and riding around with them. Those are circumstances where teens give a lot of information.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.