How to Talk to your Teen

All Articles in the Category ‘How to Talk to your Teen’

Body Piercing

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ear piercingGuest Post: by Dr. Laura Burkhart

When I was 16 years old I wanted to get my nose pierced. After the surprised initial reaction from my dad of “why would you ever want to voluntarily put a hole in your body?!”, we had a really respectful and honest conversation. What I remember the most was that he was open to my point of view, even though the idea of a body piercing wasn’t his favorite. Kind of like when I’d begged for a puppy; part of the deal was that I had to take complete care and responsibility for it. While I had other piercings after this, my memory of this piercing is a positive one. It was one of the first thought out “adult” conversations I had with my dad about something we didn’t agree on, because of his willingness to hear me out. This memory could have easily been one of teen rebellion and anger had I been simply told “No because I said so”. I share this story so hopefully inspire the kind of open conversation I had with my dad if your teen asks about body piercing. Read full post »

Permanent Body Art

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Guest Post by Dr. Laura Burkhart

“Mom, Dad can I get a tattoo?”

It’s the question your teen may have already asked. Or maybe they haven’t yet, but your waiting for the day they will. In the past tattoos might have been seen as a rebellious sign of those looking for a counter culture marker to set themselves apart from mainstream society. However, the art of tattooing has over time begun to merge with the norm and it isn’t uncommon to see a spectrum of people show off their ink. However, just because permanent body art has become more common, it is not without risks. In this post I will go through the art of tattooing and scarification so you can start an open conversation with your teen. Read full post »

Teens with Developmental Delay are Teens Too

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Guest Post by Dr. Emily Gallagher

At Seattle Children’s Hospital we have families coming from around  the Pacific Northwest for a wide array of illness, disorders, and needs. In the Craniofacial Center, children with disorders of the head and face receive ongoing care, often from birth through adolescence. These disorders are often related to birth defects or genetic syndromes. The Craniofacial Center houses a specific clinic for patients with a genetic disorder called “22q11.2-related disorder”. This is a common genetic syndrome caused by differences in the amount of DNA in this area, usually missing (deletion) or additional (duplication) genetic material. 22q is characterized by varied physical issues that may affect many different parts of the body (such as heart abnormalities, cleft palate, or speech disorders), as well as developmental delay.

In pediatrics, we often focus on the development of infants and young children with disability. However, as they age into the teen years, needs are sometimes missed. I asked a colleague for information on some of the needs she sees in her adolescent patients with developmental delay. Read full post »

Social Media, Shaming, and How To Respond When Teens Make Mistakes

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iStock_000015335905_DoubleRecently, Monica Lewinsky gave a TED talk titled “The Price of Shame” that has become a viral sensation with millions of views.  In the talk, Lewinsky boldly shares her experiences around the exposure of her affair with President Bill Clinton in the 1990s and the fallout of that scandal, which was fueled by the rapid spread of information (and misinformation) on the Internet.  She also points out that when the affair began, she was just 22 years old–an age that experts say is still part of adolescence.  Yet the public shaming for her mistake (which she says she “regrets deeply”) has been carried throughout all parts of her adult life.  Teens and young adults will make mistakes–how can we help them learn from them, rather than be defined by them?

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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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Addressing Traumatic Events in the Media

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family watching tvOver the past 2 weeks, multiple events have been receiving media coverage. These range from the death of a beloved celebrity to the shooting of an unarmed African American young man in Missouri; reaching as close as the death of a shooting instructor by a very young student to as far as the conflict between Israel and Palestine.  These events often stir up strong emotions as well as strong opinions amongst colleagues and friends. Teens are using social media on a regular basis and are likely well aware of the trending news stories. As parents, how do we address these events with our children? Some of the topics may hit close to home and others may seem like they are happening a world away, but all of them can lead to conversations and provide opportunities for reflection and learning. Read full post »

Eight Ways Families Can Help End the Normalization of Sexual Violence

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momanddaughterIn my last post, I discussed sexual violence and sexual harassment, and how common it can be in a teen environment. This week, as promised, I want to discuss how parents can try to help their teens recognize and reject this type of behavior, and the type of environment where it is tolerated.

I’ve posted about this in the “Teens and Sexual Assault” series, but I wanted to address a few more recommendations, and repeat a few key ones. These recommendations are not gender-specific; while the study that sparked my first post was about teen girls, any gender can perpetrate, or be the victim of, sexual violence.  Read full post »

Helping Teens Respond to Sudden Loss

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lonelyteenThe recent murder of Maren Sanchez at Jonathan Law High School hit close to home, since I grew up one town over from Milford, and had friends who went to school there. I also have friends and relatives who teach in Connecticut, and have been trying to help their students cope with not only the loss of a sense of safety, but in some cases, the death of a friend.

When adolescents lose a peer, it is likely to be to a quick and violent death. The top three causes of death for teens are car accidents, suicide, and homicide. Sudden deaths can be harder to cope with than deaths that were expected, and violent deaths can be the hardest of all.

There was an excellent article in the Huffington Post about some differences between adolescent and adult grieving. After reading his piece, I wanted to give some tips for how to help your teen move through the terrible experience of losing a peer.

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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 »