General Health and Safety

All Articles in the Category ‘General Health and Safety’

What Teens and Providers Talk About When Parents Leave the Room

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doctor and patientMost parents are expecting it: that day when your health care provider politely asks you to leave the room so they can speak to your tween or teen alone. It’s a rite of passage, an acknowledgment that teens might have events or concerns that they don’t feel comfortable talking over with family members present.

I’ve gotten a few amused comments, such as, “It’s time for the sex talk!” as well as some dissent. I wanted to write a bit about what we talk about while you’re gone, and why it’s important. Read full post »

7 Tips For De-Stressing Your Teen

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe expect a lot from teens. We expect them to reach their full academic potential, to succeed in athletic, artistic, or charitable endeavors, and often hold down a job. They take on roles of responsibility in clubs, teams, families, and their communities. They care for younger siblings, pass standardized tests, plan for their young adulthood, and attempt to keep up strong peer and romantic connections. No wonder they’re exhausted!

I believe that teens can succeed in all these tasks, but I also believe that teens can get stressed and overscheduled trying to live up to all their obligations. I wanted to offer a few tips for you to help your teen keep life in balance. Read full post »

The Most Important Message Your Teen Should Hear About Money

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leahparentIt’s very simple: that their well-being is priceless.

I was recently privileged to attend a discussion in which teen gave their thoughts on various health care issues. It was engaging, enlightening, and eye-opening. One unexpected thing I heard- from multiple teens- about getting health care was that they wished it didn’t cost their parents so much money, and that they felt bad being a burden.

I and other health care providers present were taken aback. Our society tends to paint teens as self-centered and even selfish. Listening to a teen talk about how they might not tell their parents if they were ill, hoping to save them money on an expensive medication, was heartbreaking.  Read full post »

Tanning beds: It’s not just a risk for skin cancer

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solariumA new study in JAMA Dermatology will come out this week that shows an association between tanning and teens being engaged in other risky behaviors. We have long known that tanning but this study provides us with more evidence that they may be risky for other aspects of our lives as well. Read full post »

Boys Need to Visit the Doctor too

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ftmteenThis week a friend emailed an article about a toolkit for male health. It got me thinking: why don’t boys go to the doctor? It seems that for teen girls, there are numerous reasons that lead them in for medical evaluations (menstrual cramps, acne, concerns about weight, reproductive health). There are screening guidelines that encourage women under age 25 to seek medical care routinely, but our teen boys are often left out. It’s not that teen boys are more or less healthy, it just seems that we’ve been less likely to consider that boys need medical visits too! Read full post »

Puberty: The Horror Movie

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Scared young woman afraid of something above her Horror film aficionados know that there are many classes of horror movies. There is supernatural horror, psychological horror, sci-fi horror, religious horror, horror-comedy, etc. Some of the most disturbing horror films for many (including me) are body horror. Body horror is basically a subgenre in which terrifying things happen to bodies. They grow, change, mutate, and/or self-destruct in particularly terrifying ways.

Obviously, going through puberty is different from having an alien burst out of your chest. However, at Dr. Kastner’s lecture last week, she reminded us that puberty is not only a time of emotional upheaval, but of physical upheaval as well. The further we get from puberty, the more it simply seems like a normal time of life that was rather difficult. We know that it happens to everyone and is pleasant for few. Yet while many of us looked forward to puberty and becoming more grown up, the changes our bodies presented us with were often confusing, unpredictable, unwanted, and more trouble than we’d expected. Read full post »

When Your Teen Loses It

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angryteengirlI can still recall one of my more memorable adolescent meltdowns, even though I don’t remember what I was upset about. I was about thirteen, and I was yelling and crying and for some reason lying on a pile of laundry in our bathroom. My mother did something wise- she disengaged and left the room- and I sobbed into a pile of T-shirts until I calmed down. Then I was so embarrassed I avoided her like the plague for the next few days.

Most teens, at some point in their life, will have a complete meltdown over something that is, in the long run, not a huge deal. Something like losing their Twitter access for two weeks, getting into an argument with a friend, or having trip plans canceled can put them into a tailspin.

I’m not talking, for the purposes of this post, about teens that cause physical or property damage- that can be a larger issue, and may be outside of the spectrum of normal. I’m talking about screaming, crying, stomping, slamming doors, and the like. It doesn’t necessarily injure anyone, but it can be hard to take.  Read full post »

Vulnerable teens and the Affordable Care Act: Will they be left behind

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lonelyteenThis January marks a major milestone in US history, the initiation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This Act has been put in place in an effort to help bring healthcare coverage to millions of uninsured Americans and has been the topic of much debate. There is much nuance in the details of the Act and it’s challenging to understand, but I wanted to highlight a special population that may continue to remain uninsured despite the implementation of the ACA: vulnerable teens and young adults.

There are 3 specific populations of teens and young adults who are likely to remain uninsured: homeless youth, older teens in foster care, and youth in juvenile detention. Unfortunately, these teens and young adults are at high risk for poor health, mental illness, poverty, and lack of positive adult role models. They also have higher proportions of under-represented minorities and LGBTQ youth. This special group of teens, in my opinion, has the greatest need for health care coverage. Read full post »

Teaching Teens to be Responsible

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teen travelIn my last post, I discussed the case of Ethan Couch, a 16-year-old who drove drunk and killed four people. Many were astonished when his prosecutor successfully argued that because Ethan had not been taught about consequences or responsibility by his parents, that he did not deserve jail time.

Ethan’s parents seemed to refrain from punishment no matter how egregious his offenses. They are far below the bell curve in parental discipline; most of you would never dream of letting a young teen drink themselves to unconsciousness without repercussions. But Ethan’s history does raise the question: How do parents raise responsible teens, ready to accept the consequences of their actions, work hard for their goals, and face the realities of life?

Of course, each teen is born with their own temperament, and there is no magic equation. But I’ve gathered up some suggestions, including past posts, on strategies that may help instill a sense of responsibility in your teen. Read full post »

Maintaining balance during the holidays

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safety in numbersIt’s holiday season. Teens with already jam packed schedules are adding in holiday parties, school plays, music performances, time with friends, and family commitments. It can be a challenge to maintain balance. By balance I mean taking time for a break, eating well, exercising, and doing the activities that enable them to manage stress. These are my personal tips for maintaining balance this busy time of year: Read full post »