Author: Jen Brown, RN, BSN

Two Nobel Prize Winners, Two Worthy Teen Role Models

malalaIf you’re looking for good teen role models, you might start with the recent winners of the Nobel Peace Prize.

We have all heard of Malala Yousafzai, although a lot of us didn’t hear about her until she was shot. Before that, starting at age 11, she wrote an anonymous blog for the BBC about being a girl under the Taliban regime. She gained international public recognition as a speaker and activist, and in 2012 was the victim of an assassination attempt.

Luckily, she survived, and maintained her courage and passion. Continuing to campaign for the rights of all children to receive an education, she was a co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize this year. At age 17, she is the first teenager to do so.

Another truly heroic person recognized with the Peace Prize this year is Kailash Satyarthi, an Indian man who has dedicated his life to ending child slavery and forced labor, as well as child marriage. To date, he has rescued almost eighty thousand children from child labor. Read full post »

Days Of Calamine Past: Is Your Teen Protected Against Chickenpox?

chickenpoxDespite being only three years old at the time, I have vivid memories of having chickenpox, also known as varicella. They mostly involve wandering around naked, crying, and miserable, with socks tied onto my hands so I wouldn’t scratch. I also took multiple cool Aveeno baths, and had orange Calamine lotion painted over my body. Luckily I had no complications, and all that linger are a couple of pockmark scars (I learned how to get the socks off.) Read full post »

Thoughts on Teen Safety From The U.S.-Mexico Border

teen couple youngA lot of what we post on this blog informs parents of teens about threats to their child’s safety and security, or how to empower yourself or your teen to prevent harm. However, we tend to forget that in a global sense, our teens are doing very well. Sanitation, preventative health care, vaccination, and rapid treatment of diseases are available to most teens in the U.S. We should never ignore that within our own borders, some teens are faced with violence regularly; however, American teens are safe overall- much safer than, say, teens in Somalia or Afghanistan. Whatever you might think of our government structure, it is more or less intact. While food insecurity is common in our country, it’s very unusual for a teen to starve to death for lack of resources.

Our relative safety was driven home for me over the past week, which I spent at the U.S.-Mexico border. Read full post »

Talking About “Celebgate” With Your Teen- A Guest Post by Dr. Ellen Selkie

ellenRecently, as you may have seen in the news, nude photos and videos of multiple female celebrities were leaked online. The leak started with a hack of Apple’s iCloud—an online server where photos from the women’s phones were backed up and stored. To me, this is a teachable moment for parents about privacy and online content, and comes on the heels of a post we did recently about sexting in middle school students. Read full post »

Another Reason For Teens to Avoid Sugar-Sweetened Beverages

sodasWhen my mother was young, she lived in rural South Africa, and soda was a rare treat. She only had soda (somewhat ironically) after her twice-yearly dentist visit, when she and my grandmother would stop into a cafe to order one. She continues her habits to this day, and very rarely drinks anything carbonated and sweetened.

For many teens today, sweetened beverages are daily treats, or even enjoyed a few times a day. Teens drinks not only soda, but energy drinks, sweetened iced teas, and other sugary concoctions. About three-quarters of teens have at least one sugar-sweetened drink daily.

We’ve discussed healthy eating before, and how any sugar-containing drink should be limited to special occasions. However, an intriguing new study may point to an additional benefit of avoiding sweetened beverages: improved brain function. Read full post »

When Not To Call Your Teen

young woman driving on highway while reading / writing text on smart phone.Parenting teens changed with the advent of the cell phone. I can think of multiple dilemmas from my adolescence that a cell phone would have helped my parents and I enormously: when I was late, when I was lost, when I needed help. Cell phones and smartphones have become integral parts of most of our lives. I was recently in a place with no cell phone service, and realized how much I’ve come to rely on my iPhone and all its information at my fingertips (I had to read a paper map.)

Teens can text their parents instead of yelling from their bedroom, parents can remind their teen to do something after they’ve left the house, and parents can even track their teens via cell phone to make sure they are where they say they are (or at least, where their cell phone is.) Like all technology, cell phones, smartphones, tablets, etc. have their positive and  negative effects on society. However, a study recently came out showing that parents’ attempts to keep in touch with teens can be putting them in danger. Read full post »

Taking Your Teen on Vacation

teen divingVacations are chances to separate from everyday cares, explore new places, and reconnect with loved ones. Whether you’re traveling globally or having a “staycation” and enjoying your home town, I believe vacations are vital for coping with stress and gaining perspective on life. For families, vacations can be a way to enjoy each other’s company without the distractions or hassles of day-to-day life.

Family vacations change as people change, and taking a teenager on vacation is often quite different from taking a child. Here are some ideas on making family vacations with teens enjoyable and low-stress for everyone.

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How Parents Can Keep Up With the Social Media Landscape

ellenThis is a guest post by Adolescent Medicine fellow Ellen Selkie, MD.

We’ve talked about social media on this blog before . It continues to dominate the lives of teens, though the type or platform of social media is always changing. How can a parent keep up? Well, first, you can read this brief overview of social media platforms most used by teens. Then, check out info below about more learning opportunities! Read full post »

Parenting Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Teenagers, Part 8: Beyond Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual

Last week, I further explored gender identities. This week, I’m doing the same with sexual orientations. My series years ago didn’t mention some of the sexual orientations that are rapidly gaining recognition and descriptive language, and that anyone involved in a teen’s life has a good chance of hearing about; if not in relation to their teen, in relation to a peer. The two most common sexual orientations that I am hearing teens increasingly identify as are asexual and pansexual.

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Transgender Teens, Part 14: Further Exploring Gender

genderqueerIt’s been almost 2 years since I finished up my series on transgender teens. Since then, I’ve learned a lot,  from teens in Adolescent Medicine, various books and online articles, and from friends I’ve met along the way. While I mentioned the term “genderqueer” in my last series, I wanted to expand on and discuss additional gender identities that I didn’t cover the last time I wrote about this topic.

Here are a few more gender terms you should know. How people who self-identify with these terms dress and present themselves varies widely, but that’s true for masculine and feminine genders as well!

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