Archive for 2013

Teens and Tobacco

Tobacco use is still pretty common, even though we now know that tobacco is dangerous and can lead to problems such as cancer, high blood pressure, and heart disease in addition to cosmetic things like bad breath and yellow stained teeth. We wanted to talk about tobacco use amongst teens in order to highlight that it is still a drug being abused by teens so it’s important for parents to discuss the risks.

Teens, Impulsivity, and Suicide

sad teen girlWe’ve written a lot of posts about suicide, but I wanted to address a recent news story. The latest teen suicide to hit the media is that of 15-year-old Christian Adamek. On September 25th, he streaked a football game; by October 2nd, he was dead from self-inflicted injuries. There are lessons for all of us to learn in the sequence of events from his prank to his demise. Read full post »

Those Crazy Kids With Their Music These Days

teenmusicMusic… gives wings to the mind, a soul to the universe, flight to the imagination, a charm to sadness, a life to everything.” -Plato

I know it’s only rock and roll, but I like it.” –The Rolling Stones

Music is an emotional modulator, an escape, and a source of relaxation for all of us, but especially adolescents. Teens find poetry in their favorite song’s lyrics, drown frustration in a hard-driving rhythm, and let calming songs soothe them at night. Teens seeking out peers who think like them may find music an easy common language, and their dress and worldview may partially stem from their favorite musicians. Read full post »

A Parent Toolkit for Promoting Healthy Internet Use

Keeping adolescents safe from harm has been a challenge for parents since time began, but in the age of the internet, blogs, social networking sites, and texting, parents are faced with new territory to navigate. Our colleague, Dr. Megan Moreno, has written a book that can help guide parents through this terrain. Sex, Drugs ‘n Facebook: A Parent Toolkit for Promoting Healthy Internet Use is now available.

Dr. Moreno has been a guest blogger in the past and has written about her research in the use of social media and adolescent health. This book is written with her expertise as an adolescent medicine physician, research scientist, and mom. She also incorporates adolescents and parents. The combined effect is an easy to read, practical toolkit for parents on internet safety. Topics in this book range from sexting to cyberbullying and everything in between.

For more on internet safety check out these blog posts and please let us know what you think of Dr. Moreno’s book!

On the Pulse: Sex Drugs ‘n Facebook

Keeping your adolescent safe online

Teens and Social Media: Depression Displays on Facebook Part 1

Teens, Cyberbullying, & Suicide





Eating Disorders: Signs and Symptoms post 1

Eating Disorders come in all different shapes and sizes. They can be insidious, manipulative, can turn a family upside down, and have the potential to be deadly. I compare eating disorders to cancer: when the diagnosis is made, it takes an entire team, including parents, to save the life of the person affected. We wanted to address this topic in a series of video posts so we’ve asked an expert in the treatment of eating disorders to provide information on diagnosis, treatment options, and prognosis. Dr. Adrianne Altman, the Regional Clinical Supervisor at the Center for Discovery, will be featured in the first videos of the series.

25 is the new 18

Peer Groups multiethnicRecently, child psychologists in the United Kingdom received a new recommendation: that their treatment population should not be birth to eighteen, but rather birth to twenty-five.

The reason behind this change is our advancing knowledge of human brain development. Our brains, including functions involving self-regulation, decision-making, and risk-taking, do not develop into a “fully adult” brain until age 25 or later.

This has brought a storm of criticism. Some question the effect of the new guidelines on young adults, and whether it will prolong adolescence beyond where it is. Some think we are coddling young people who have been considered adults for most of history.

As anyone who works in the field of adolescent health knows, this research and these recommendations are not new, and our health system has been slowly incorporating these ideas into health care.

Read full post »

Taking Sexuality into Your Own Hands

birds and beesGuest Blogger:

Tracy Whittaker, BSN, RN

University of Washington School of Nursing

Let’s face it; no one wants to talk about masturbation. It is a taboo topic that may cause you to feel uncomfortable, or embarrassed, or guilty, and talking to teens or parents about it would be mortifying for either party! But masturbating is a common and safe kind of sex play for both women and men that in fact has many health benefits and is largely ignored in the “Birds and the Bees” talk. Read full post »

Adolescent Medicine Open House October 8th

Envelop in shape of house with paper inside. 2D Artwork. Computer Design.Have you ever wondered what a clinic devoted to adolescent health looked like? Would you like to meet providers who have dedicated their careers to the care of teens? Do you just want to find a resource in the community for your tween or teen children? Well, we have a great opportunity to introduce you to the Seattle Children’s Hospital Division of Adolescent Medicine. We’re having our open house on Tuesday October 8th from 4:30 to 7:30pm.

Seattle Children’s Hospital is a leader in the specialty of Adolescent Medicine with a team of experts in the areas of the physical, emotional, and mental well-being of adolescents. We have providers in our practice who are known nationally (and internationally) for their work with teens as well as some of the 2013 Top Doctors in the Northwest.

We help teens and their families with a variety of concerns including (but not limited to): eating disorders, weight management, ADHD, poor school performance, reproductive health, body image concerns, transgender, delayed puberty, substance use and abuse, chronic illness, and chronic pain.

The Open House will be in our clinic on Tuesday October 8th from 4:30pm to 7:30pm. We’ll have  refreshments and great company, so please stop by!

Date: Tuesday October 8, 2013
Time: 4:30pm-7:30pm
Address: 4540 Sand Point Way NE, Suite 200                   Seattle, WA 98105
Parking: free, located beneath the Spring Brook office building, off of 45th St, or on the plaza level of the Spring Brook office in between the 2 buildings

How Not to Discipline Teenagers


Recently a listing on Ebay has garnered international attention. An angry mother is selling the One Direction tickets she bought for her daughter and her daughter’s friends, in order to punish her daughter for lying and sneaking out.

So far, none of this is particularly objectionable. Where things begin to get interesting is the description she posts along with the tickets for sale.

Let’s deconstruct this listing a little, and point out how this mother’s Ebay communication to her daughter is not a good example of how to discipline your teenager. (Disclaimer: I’m not implying any of our gentle readers would use these parenting tactics, I’m more responding to the enthusiastic support from various people on the internet.)

Read full post »

When is weight loss an eating disorder

lettuce on plateOur culture places constant pressure on teens ( and adults) to lose weight. The trend in the US is towards obesity, with about a third of our population being considered overweight or obese, so the messaging about weight loss makes sense. But this constant message to lose weight can back fire. Often this pressure to be thin results in participation in fad diets, extreme workouts, and losing weight too quickly. All of these behaviors may be the start of an eating disorder, but the warning signs can be missed because the person losing weight is being complimented on their achievements.

Read full post »