Archive for September 2012

Monthly Archive

Drug Use Among Teens: Part 3 Marijuana

Marijuana use amongst teens is not uncommon. In fact, 40% of teens in high school have tried marijuana at least once. Cannabis use has long been a topic in the press. In Washington state, measure Initiative-502 calls to legalize marijuana and a local commercial includes a mother discussing her reasons for supporting the measure. The purpose of this blog is not to support or disapprove of marijuana use, but to educate on some of the harmful effects marijuana can have on teens.

In a previous post we discussed marijuana and warning signs of substance abuse for parents to watch out for.  Here I want to discuss some of the behavior changes that go along with marijuana use. Read full post »

Sun Tanning, Sunless Tanning, and Tanning Beds: What’s Safe For My Teen?

I’ve always found the history of tanning rather interesting. In the past, before the industrial age, tan skin was considered extremely undesirable. The white, soft skin prized by the aesthetic of the times could only be reached by spending a life indoors, as only the wealthy could do. People would even taken arsenic or use lead-based powders on their skin for a pale appearance.

By the end of the Victorian era, poorer people were going into factories to work, and so suddenly it wasn’t only the wealthy who were pale. Physicians in that era also began recommending sun exposure as a cure for various illnesses, (it did wonders for rickets). Shortly after, Coco Chanel (a style icon of the time) began sporting a tan, and Josephine Baker’s “caramel skin” (she was African-American) was sought after. Soon it was very desirable to be tan.

We now know that unlimited sun exposure can be dangerous, as can sunburns and sun tanning. It can increase the risk of skin cancer dramatically, as well as cause early wrinkling and skin damage. And yet tan skin is still in fashion in some circles. So if a teen is hankering for a golden glow, what’s a parent supposed to do? Let’s look at options.

(This post obviously is more aimed towards light-skinned teens. We’ll be looking at sun health for darker-skinned teens in a forthcoming post.)

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Texting and Driving

AT&T has launched a new campaign about the dangers of texting and driving called “It Can Wait.” They’ve asked drivers to take a pledge to not text and drive September 19.  These ads highlight the importance of teaching teens safe driving habits and being good adult role models. I really appreciate the ad campaign, and thought it would be timely to talk about teen driving as the new  school year starts. We’ve had posts on driving safety for teens in the past, but this ad campaign provides another great opportunity to blog about safety. Read full post »

“Creative Communication: The Notebook” by Guest Author Inga Aaron

Open and honest communication is the ideal, but there is apt to be more than one communication breakdown in the lives of teenagers and parents. I wanted to share a way that one of my daughters and I expressed ourselves during both the difficult and (relatively) not-so-difficult times when she was a teenager and I was a mom.

When my eldest daughter was a junior in high school, she and I went through our darkest time together so far. The word “together” is a misnomer as we were emotionally as far away from one another possible. We were barely speaking and she had moved her things to her dad’s house, a couple blocks away. Away… Read full post »

Advice for Teens Recovering from Concussion

I’m going to depart from the drug use series to highlight a timely events. On September 13, Seattle Children’s Hospital will partner with Seattle news station KOMO 4 to discuss keeping kids healthy while participation in athletics. Click here for a sneak peak of the special… Dr. Monique Burton recently provided us with advice for teens who are recovering from a concussion so we’ll cover some important things to know about concussion in this post:

  • A concussion is a brain injury and it requires time to heal. Healing is accomplished with rest, both physical rest and cognitive or mental rest
  • See your teen’s health care provider after a concussion. They can give more specifics about when it is safe to return to play and also if any imaging or testing is needed
  • Your teens symptoms need to be 100% gone in order to go back to playing their sport. They should gradually return to play, that means slowly increasing their amount of activity.
  • If your teen starts to have symptoms again after returning to play, their brain is not healed, so they need to rest some more.


Young Adult Books: The Hunger Games

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard of “The Hunger Games” trilogy. Written by Suzanne Collins, it is a series of young adult dystopian novels, set in an Orwellian future society. In the novel, the government sponsors a public spectacle, in which children battle to the death for survival. It is also, in my opinion, a fantastic way to introduce teens to a number of adult themes, particularly those pertaining to powers of government and the media, and their potentials for abuse. It also examines the aftereffects of surviving traumatic situations in a realistic way. (Please note- this review also contains mild spoilers.)

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Drug Use Among Teens: Part 2 Stimulants

We started this series discussing teen drug use and designer drugs. Now we’ll talk a bit about stimulants. These consist of a wide variety of substances, but some are easier to get than others.  A great example of a stimulant is that most adults rely on each morning is caffeine.

For this post, I’ll provide an overview of caffeine, prescription ADHD medicines, methamphetamine, and cocaine. Read full post »

How Do I Get My Teen To Clean Their Room?

It’s an age-old battle. Your teen’s room is a pit. There are fruit flies hovering around their sock drawer, science experiments that used to be glasses of juice under the bed, papers and clothes scattered across the floor. You say that it’s your house, and you want your teen to take some responsibility and keep their room in a reasonable state. They say it’s their room, they know where everything is, and there’s no point in cleaning it when it will get dirty again.

Let’s figure out how to deal with this.

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