Archive for July 2013

Monthly Archive

Why Your Teen Should Get a Job

Teen Girl With Paint RollerI never had a job in high school. My brother did, but I managed to avoid it somehow. I’d watched him working as a checker at a retail store, and it looked tedious and thankless. Between summer programs, illnesses, and simple inertia, I got to college without having worked a day in my life. I did need to work in college, but it was missing a few “real world” attributes, like a paycheck (it went straight to tuition). This led to me, in my early 20s, calling my roommate in a panic because my second paycheck was so much less than my first. My roommate laughed for a long time and explained taxes to me. Read full post »

Behavioral Health: Teens and Bipolar Disorder

sad teen girlIn the late 1990s and early 2000s, diagnoses of pediatric bipolar disorder increased sharply. Children as young as preschoolers (and pre-preschoolers) entered treatment. However, most current experts agree that pediatric bipolar disorder is rare. People with bipolar disorder need medications in order to function, but these medications have side effects and should never be prescribed unless necessary. Read full post »

Managing Chronic Illness

diabetic teenThe developmental stages of adolescence include pushing boundaries, determining your sense of self, and forging new relationships. Add a chronic illness into the mix, and life as a teen can get extremely complicated. For teens with chronic diseases, such as diabetes or asthma, this means that on top of finding out who they are, then need to give themselves life saving medications daily, arrange medical visits, and be vigilant about what they eat & how they eat, or what activities they can participate in that won’t trigger a flare in their disease. It’s no wonder that many teens decide they are done with having a chronic illness and decide to ignore their self care. Read full post »

Teens and situational awareness

A group of young people walking to sunset in city parkRecent media coverage of a case involving the shooting a teen boy has lead me (and our nation) to have more questions than answers: what events could lead to the shooting of a teen? What concerns lead a citizen to carry a concealed weapon? If a person carries a weapon, what triggers them to feel the need to use it? How can being aware of our surroundings prevent tragedies from happening (both the death of someone who was still a child and the burden one may carry from having ended someone’s life)? Read full post »

When Your Teen Has a Temper


There are two developmental stages in life notable for behavioral outbursts: toddlerhood and adolescence. Teens are acutely sensitive to situations that they feel are unfair or uncalled-for, and will often let you know in no uncertain terms how they feel. Due to a mixture of hormones, brain development, and cognitive changes, they may simply be irritable and get mad for no reason (or at least, what you would consider no reason.) Sometimes your teen’s temper seems to be getting out of hand. What do you do about it?
Read full post »

Preparing Your Teen For College: Drugs, Alcohol, Eating Disorders

Congratulations on having a teen who has successfully graduated from high school!  Now the journey into adulthood begins. We’ve asked Dr. Cora Breuner (who is raising 3 teens herself) for tips on preparing your teen for college. In this video blog, she offers advice on drugs, alcohol, and eating habits.

Should You Track Your Teen?

StudyingBack in the old days when I was a teenager, there weren’t many ways to keep track of your teen without actually seeing them or talking to them on the (landline) telephone. Once they were out of your sight, you had to trust that they were doing what they said they would. Nowadays, parents can gain more in-depth information about their teen’s private life than ever before. They can keep in almost constant communication with teens via texting. There are products to track a teen’s location, driving speed, and even the keystrokes on their computer. And now the question arises: Parents can track their teen, but should they?

Families have answered this question in different ways, with some believing that their teen’s right to privacy outweighs the benefits of keeping closer tabs on them, while others believe that given the trouble teens can get into, it’s better to know as much as possible. Here are a few tips to consider (and possibly disagree with!) Read full post »

Preparing Your Teen for College: Immunizations and Medical Care

It’s already July, which means summer has officially started in Washington! For parents who have a teen heading to college in the Fall, congratulations! This is a huge accomplishment for both of you. Thinking about college and helping your teen settle into a new environment may seem a bit daunting. We’d like to help with some tips over the summer months. Our colleague, Dr. Cora Breuner, has graciously offered her advice on preparing your teen for college. In this video post, she offers information on medical care and keeping track of immunization records when your teen leaves for college

Why the DOMA Repeal is Important for Teens

gayteencoupleMy Adolescent Medicine colleagues and I were thrilled to see Section 3 of DOMA overturned by the Supreme Court. 20 years ago, when I was a teen, gay marriage was not an issue I even considered; it seemed ridiculous that our society would ever accept such a thing. In 2003, Massachusetts legalized gay marriage, and over the next 10 years, many states (including ours) followed suit.

However, just because a state considered a same-sex marriage legally binding, didn’t mean that recognition carried over to the federal government. Section 3 of DOMA forbade same-sex couples from receiving the federal benefits of marriage, and there are many. By overturning Section 3 of DOMA, not only do all couples married in states that recognize gay unions receive the full benefits that marriage provides, but it also sends a strong, positive message about where our country is headed on LGBTQ rights.

Federal recognition of marriage goes beyond the tangible benefits. The repeal of DOMA Section 3 signals a key change in our country. When the U.S. government decides to stop discriminating based on sexual orientation, it paves the way for LGBTQ rights nationwide.

Why is this important for teens?  Read full post »