General Health and Safety

All Articles in the Category ‘General Health and Safety’

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

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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?

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Tips for surviving the holidays with teens

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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?

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

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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.

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Teens and loss of a friend or loved one

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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 »

Video games and teens: harmful or helpful?

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computerkidThe question of whether video games lead to risky behaviors is one that has been asked by parents, educators, psychologists, and most of the other adults who are routinely around teens. Some video games portray acts of violence (such as stealing cars, driving recklessly, or killing ) while others put the teen in the role of a superhero (such a those based on comic book characters). Is there a difference in how a teen may act in their regular life, while not playing a game, if video games are a hobby? Read full post »

Two Nobel Prize Winners, Two Worthy Teen Role Models

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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 »

Autism and Teens

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teenandgrandpaGuest Author Siobhan Thomas-Smith

4th Year Medical Student

University of Washington School of Medicine

During high school I had the privilege of volunteering at Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Stanley Stamm Camp with several pre-teens and teenagers who were learning how to navigate the difficulties of adolescence with the added challenge of living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). I was inspired by the courage that it took to face these battles. The psychosocial difficulties of middle school and high school can be overwhelming in and of themselves. There is social pressure to conform, academic pressure to achieve, and a new biological urge to seek out intimate relationships. For an individual on the autism spectrum, these physiologic and psychological changes can be difficult to comprehend and can complicate both the joys and difficulties of transitioning to adulthood. Read full post »

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

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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

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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

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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 »