Archive for July 2011

Monthly Archive

Sleep is Importanzzzzzzz…….

I thought it would be best to write this post when I myself was sleep-deprived… which I am. I have a statistics midterm tomorrow, and I stayed up too late at night worrying about it. Today I’m irritable, drowsy, unable to concentrate, and have a headache. If I stopped and put my head down, I would drift off immediately.

Sound familiar? We all know what it’s like to be short on sleep. Whether we’ve been parents, students, or simply had too much to do, sometimes it’s a fact of life. And as we all know, adolescents are studying, texting, working, or playing World of Warcraft late into the night…

Read full post »

Teasing about weight hurts

It may seem like normal sibling rivalry to hear brothers and sisters tease each other about their weight.  Parents may even tease a little.  How many people have been at a friend’s home and heard them make a comment to their child such as ‘should you really eat that?’ or ‘you look like you may be gaining a bit of weight’ to a teen who looks healthy to you? Commenting about weight seems like the norm in our society.  Why shouldn’t it be?  We are constantly bombarded with images of unrealistically proportioned models and ads for dieting products.  Magazines are all retouched and Hollywood celebrities wouldn’t dream of being photographed without makeup.

The thing is, all of this negative commentary can impact our health. A recent study of teen girls found that parents’ negative talk about weight was associated with their children having unhealthy and extreme weight control behaviors. This study looked at 356 teen girls from 12 different high schools. Some of the unhealthy weight control behaviors that teens engaged in included skipping meals, smoking cigarettes, taking diet pills or laxatives, vomiting and binge eating, as well as going on a diet. Read full post »

Helping Your Teen Have Good Body Image

Recently I sent an email to all our clinicians asking one question: “If you could give parents or guardians one piece of advice on helping their teens have good body image, what would it be?”

I was going to post a few quotes as an entry, but as it turned out almost everybody had the same answer: Parents need to role-model body satisfaction, and focus on health instead of weight and appearance when discussing their bodies and the bodies of others. Read full post »

Perfectionism in Teens

I am definitely a ‘type A’ personality; growing up, perfectionism was a trait I had early on. Trying to be the smartest in my class started when I was in kindergarten. My mom still has a picture of me at age 5 with my first student of the month award. I’m not sure why I tried so hard to be perfect; maybe it was being the first born that drove me to dread disappointing my parents or maybe it was just my temperament. My parents had expectations that I would be courteous and obey rules at school as well as finish my homework on time, but never did they tell me I needed to be number one. That was something I came up with all on my own.

Perfectionism may not sound like such a terrible trait. When we hear that term, we think of people who are smart and successful, but as I work with teens more and more, I’ve noticed that perfectionism is not without some downsides. Those teens who strive to be ‘perfect’ may naturally be the most intelligent or the best athletes, but often they are overextending themselves with homework and advanced placement courses or extracurricular activities at the expense of sleep and friendships. Read full post »

A March-December Marriage

I found out this morning that Douglas Hutchison, a 51-year-old actor from Lost and the movie The Green Mile has married Courtney Stoddard, a 16-year-old “recording artist, singer/songwriter, actress, and model” from our very own Ocean Shores, Washington. This was done legally, with the consent of her parents. She and Douglas are defending the move by stating that they are very much in love and marriage was the next logical step, despite the fact that their relationship was conducted mostly online. Read full post »

Leaving Your Child Home Alone

I remember one of the first times my mother left me and my siblings home alone for longer than a few minutes. I was 12 years old, and as the eldest of 4 children, felt pretty mature and responsible. My mom was only gone about an hour, but she came home to what was likely her worse nightmare at the time. The condominium complex next to ours had caught on fire and our neighborhood was surrounded by fire trucks and medical personnel. We were absolutely fine, but my mom was very hesitant to leave us alone for quite awhile after that. Read full post »

Keeping Your Adolescent Safe Online

The World Wide Web has changed our lives.

You can order a pizza without picking up the phone, get directions without pulling out a map, and find your long-lost childhood sweetheart with a search engine. We can look up information on pretty much anything with a few keystrokes. People with rare interests or problems can find like-minded peers around the world, and people in different countries can play an online game together, chatting all the while.

Most people online are seeking information, sharing it with friends, or buying something. However, there have always been untrustworthy people who try to target us in person; now they are online as well.

Read full post »

Water Safety

One of the most wonderful aspects of living in the Pacific Northwest is enjoying our amazing summers.  The temperature hovers around a comfortable 75 degrees, the humidity is low, and the days are long.  With the warmer temperatures come the outdoor activities and Seattle is surrounded by water!  Lake Washington, Lake Union, the Puget Sound, and on and on.  Boats, both motor and paddled, are common and teens are often invited to partake in summer activities involving water. Read full post »

The Greatest Risk

What is the leading cause of adolescent deaths worldwide?

It’s not HIV, violence, suicide, or malaria, although those are all well-represented in the top ten list. Globally, the leading cause of adolescent deaths is “road traffic accidents”. And lest you think our paved roads and antilock brakes exempt us from this, car accidents are also the leading cause of adolescent deaths in the U.S.

Read full post »