Teenology 101

Measles outbreaks, amusement parks, and vaccinations

Flu or allergy shot. This image is available exclusively on Istock.I took a bit of a break from blogging to expand my family over the holiday season. Returning from maternity leave this week, one of the first headlines I noticed in my email inbox was regarding the measles outbreak that is currently in progress at a major theme park in California. As a pediatrician and now mother of two, I take my children to venues geared toward fun on a regular basis. There are playdates, birthday parties, museums, and many trips to the airport to fly to see family. My older daughter is more comfortable at the airport than at preschool! Considering whether or not they could be infected with a life threatening illness is not typically at the top of my worry list, and I would argue that no parent should have to worry about disease when taking their children to have a fun time. Read full post »

New Year, New You? Reflecting on Success and Setting Goals for the Future

New year 2015This week, of course, many people are making their New Year’s resolutions.  I find that I always have a long list of things I’d like to do in the new year: for example, this coming year I want to read more books, keep my house clean, exercise more, cook new recipes, keep in better touch with old friends…the list goes on and on.  I find that this time of year is a great opportunity for families to set goals toward becoming healthier and happier in the new year.  So, how can you and your teen make resolutions that will be sustainable and achievable?

Read full post »

Tips for surviving the holidays with teens

Family holiday mealHolidays mean vacation: days where teens are out of school with little to occupy their time and potential for comments of feeling bored. The holiday seasons between Fall and Winter encompass a wide range of cultural and religious themes from Eid, to Yom Kippur and Hanukkah, Christmas to Kwanza. What all of these holidays share is the importance of family. However, a normal part of adolescent development is pulling away from parents and traditional family values. This time of year, parents may hear more requests for gifts than for special traditions at family gatherings. Cooking, cleaning, and anticipating family conflict can cause a lot of pressure for parents and teens.  So how can parents continue to make fond memories and include all household members?

Read full post »

Addressing teen substance use: Post 4 How to talk with your teen about alcohol poisoning

In this post, our guest blogger Lisa Chinn LMHC, CDP will discuss how to talk to your teen about alcohol poisoning. She has written this series from her perspective as a chemical dependency professional for adolescents. This is the 4th post in our series on addressing substance use in teens.

How to talk with your teen about alcohol poisoning. (Please keep in mind, this is about alcohol poisoning, and will not cover other substances that affect the central nervous system.)

Since alcohol is one of the most widely available and commonly used substances by teens, it is important to help teens understand the dangers of alcohol poisoning. When teens drink in social settings, they typically have the intent to “get drunk.” In contrast, adults may have one or two drinks in a sitting and they are usually done. Yes, there are exceptions to these generalizations, but when I hear teens talk about their drinking habits, they tend to report excessive drinking; most of the time generally drinking multiple beverages or binge drinking within a few minutes.  Teens may not understand the danger of drinking “a lot” of alcohol in a short amount of time. In this post I’ve mentioned a few things parents can share with their teen about the dangers of alcohol. Read full post »

Addressing teen substance use: Post 3 The privilege of driving

This is the 3rd post in our series on teen substance abuse by guest blogger Lisa Chinn LMHC, CDP. In this series she offers her perspective as a chemical dependency professional for adolescents.

Over the years, if I received 10 cents (inflation taken into consideration) every time I heard “I drive better when I am smoking weed.” OR “My friend drives better when they are using.” I would be SO MUCH closer to retirement. Ok, all kidding aside, many teens who are using substances actually believe they drive better under the influence. Most teens know they shouldn’t drink and drive, but I’ve encountered many teens who believe they can smoke marijuana and drive. These same teens often believe they drive BETTER when they smoke marijuana. This blog post isn’t about proving whether someone can drive “better or worst” under the influence, but about what happens if your teen gets into an accident. Remember parents: When your teens start to drive, they are under YOUR car insurance. Read full post »

Addressing teen substance use: Post 2 Do UAs at home or Not to do UAs at home

This is the second post by guest blogger Lisa Chinn LMHC, CDP on adolescent substance use. She has written from her perspective as a mental health provider in adolescent chemical dependency. In this post, she’ll cover the topic of home urine toxicology screens.

To do UAs at home or Not to do UAs at home?

What is a UA? UA is short hand for urine analysis, urine toxicity screen or drug test. UAs are neutral evidence of whether a person has used substances or not. The drug test is not dependent on a person’s word or their behaviors. As a drug treatment provider, I recommend that UA or drug testing be done at home when a parent suspects or knows that your adolescent is using. Most teens who use drugs know that many substances will be gone from the body within a couple of days of using, therefore if the only drug testing they get are at their appointments, they may not get “caught” for a while.

Drug testing has two purposes: to catch a person when they are NOT using and to catch them when they ARE using. It is just as important to catch them when they are NOT using, as it is to catch them when they are using. Read full post »

Bullying Among Adolescents Part 1: What is Bullying, Really?

girl bullying

When I ask parents and teens, “What do you think is the most pressing health issue facing adolescents today?”  I often hear that bullying is on everyone’s minds.  Some of this concern comes from high-profile media cases of teens who have, sadly, died of suicide after being victims of bullying; in the media, bullying has also long been blamed as a contributor to school shootings and continues to be reported as a trigger for violent retaliatory behavior.  In addition, research on bullying has increased in the last few decades, with many studies finding that kids who have been bullied AND kids who bully others are more likely to have school problems, mental health issues, and even physical health problems into adulthood.

Read full post »

Teens and loss of a friend or loved one

Me and My DadAs my family welcomes our new daughter and the holiday season starts, I’ve reflected on the death of my Dad in 2013. Knowing that he isn’t present to hold his grandchild or share in our excitement is painful. Even though I grieved for my Dad when he passed away, the loss still hits me from time to time.  Thinking of my own loss, I am reminded of many of the teens I’ve worked with in clinical practice who are also facing the loss of a friend or loved one. Death is a natural part of life and eventually everyone will lose someone they care about, but this doesn’t make the loss any easier to handle. Read full post »

Newbie blogger alert!

Selkie 2014Hello everyone!  I’m Ellen Selkie, one of the docs in Adolescent Medicine, and I’m stepping into the GIANT shoes left behind by Jen Brown on Teenology 101.  I’ll be blogging along with Dr. Evans, and thought I should introduce myself.  I’m excited to continue the dialogue on this blog about current topics in adolescent health and culture, and I look forward to answering any questions you might have!

Read full post »

Addressing Teen Substance Use: Post 1 Is Your Teen(s) Using In Your Home?

In the Adolescent Medicine Clinic at Seattle Children’s Hospital, we have the privilege of working with chemical dependency professional, Lisa Chinn LMHC, CDP. Over the next two months, we’ll be posting a guest authored series written by Lisa on teen substance abuse. She’ll cover some of the challenging topics parents often ask about in our clinic setting including how to address substance use in your home, whether or not to have your teen provide random drug screens, and how to address alcohol poisoning. Lisa is a great resource and we hope readers find useful information throughout the series!

Is Your Teen(s) Using in Your Home? Read full post »