When 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 »
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 »
Vacations 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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Guest post by Dr. Jason Mendoza
Staying physically active is a tough task for many people, including teens. Most teens in the US do not meet current guidelines that recommend obtaining at least 1-hour of moderate to vigorous intensity physical activity on a daily basis. This is the type of physical activity that makes you breathe faster and elevates your heart rate. Unfortunately, the teenage years are when people’s physical activity declines the most, which can adversely affect current and future health. Read full post »
This 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 »
Friday marks the Fourth of July and we’ll have an entire weekend to celebrate. This time of year the weather is usually great, people are in a good mood, and school is out. While we all have fun events planned, this is also a time when accidents can occur. One of the main themes you’ll see on this list is to avoid alcohol and drugs during fun activities. Being under the influence of substances can alter judgement and have deadly consequences. We’ve had posts on summer safety including drowning prevention, water safety, and driving in the past. Here we’ll highlight some of our tips for having a great and safe 4th of July weekend. Read full post »
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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It’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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I’ve spent the last couple of weeks meeting new high school graduates and having conversations with students who are transitioning to a higher grade level. An interesting pattern emerged amongst many of the top performing students: some had never experienced a failure, but those that had described learning a lot from it. As a teen, I was a perfectionist. I had a 4.0, was active in extracurricular activities, I never broke curfew, and I worked part time. It wasn’t until my senior year physics course that I really experienced my first taste of not doing something exactly right. I received a C grade at the end of the quarter. We’ve written about perfectionism before, but I wanted to highlight some of the lessons learned from not always succeeding on the first attempt. Read full post »
The media has been avidly reporting, analyzing, and theorizing about a crime committed about a week ago, where two 12-year-old girls held down and stabbed a peer repeatedly (the peer, thankfully, survived). The girls stated they were doing this for “Slender Man”, an internet meme/ monster created in 2009, in the hopes that they could become his “proxies” and live with him in his forest mansion.
Whenever something like this happens, people look for a scapegoat. The idea that there isn’t a convenient scapegoat, and that these two girls stabbed another because of a complex array of factors is much more frightening than having an easy target. And yet, as usual, things have gotten a little derailed, with news outlets blaming the Slender Man meme, the creator of Slender Man, and even the school for giving students iPads.
Is this crime something that parents need to worry about their own tweens getting involved with? Should parents talk to their tweens differently about the internet and the supernatural after this case? See below for some of my thoughts. Read full post »