Teenology 101

Teens Texting and Compromising Photos

In this age of technology, teens may be tempted to take photos of themselves in compromising positions and send those to friends.  These pictures may be of themselves at a party drinking alcohol or even a picture of them in their underwear (or less) to a boyfriend or girlfriend.  They may think it’s not a big deal to send a private picture to one recipient, but that one ‘innocent’ photo may then be passed along to friends via text messages or posts on social networking sites.  Even if the picture is posted on a social networking site with ‘private settings’ with teens thinking only their friends are seeing them, the recent media coverage on celebrity nude photos shows us just how those compromising pictures can come back to haunt them later. Read full post »

10 Tips for Talking to Your Teen About Sex

A recent study investigated where teenagers get their information on sex and sexual health. Can you guess what the number 1 influence was? It wasn’t friends, and it wasn’t celebrities, and it wasn’t the internet… it was their parents and families.

What’s more, the study showed that parents and guardians greatly underestimate how much their discussions about sexuality impact their teens. Most assumed that the majority of information came from peers.

The upshot is: Teens are listening. So now it’s time to talk. You need to talk to your teen about sex before a friend or a movie gives them information that could be harmful or wildly inaccurate. Here are some tips on having that conversation:

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Combating Insomnia in Teens

We asked a colleague for helpful hints for parents on how to combat insomnia in teens.  This post is a nice follow-up to our post on sleep in adolescents that focused more on why teens may be more fatigued than we’d expect. If you have other ideas for how to help your teen sleep, please let us know!




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Adolescent Transition to Adult Health Care

Adolescent transition to adult health care is important for every teen. Teens with and without special health care needs may have difficulties with transitioning from pediatric to adult focused medical care. Think about the last time you visited your teen’s pediatric provider’s office… what did the waiting room look like?  Was there a fish tank?  Did the office have child friendly toys, magazines, and books?  Were the colors bright and cheerful?  Now consider your last visit to see your adult medical provider.  My guess is the walls were gray or muted, there was no fish tank, and the magazines included Newsweek and Golf.  Not exactly teen friendly!

Of course, the transition from pediatric to adult centered care involves much more than just a change in scenery.  It includes a shift in focus from the family making decisions, to the autonomy of being responsible for one’s self.  Teens and emerging adults will be expected to know how to make follow-up appointments, arrange for laboratory testing, and get prescriptions filled.  They’ll need to know what medications they take, what insurance coverage they have, and what their medical and family history consists of.  This transition is not just a challenge for the teens, it’s hard for the family to make the shift as well! Read full post »

Traditional Bullying in Teens

Bullying is one of the most difficult experiences a child or teen can have.  Besides the direct injury, the aftermath of bullying—the self-doubt, the fear, the sense of isolation– can haunt the victim for years, often casting a shadow into adulthood.  Parents armed with an understanding of bullying, and supplied with information and resources about how to help, can play a critical role in preventing bullying or in minimizing the consequences of the experience.

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Teens, Energy Drinks, and Health

Rock Star. Full Throttle. No Fear. Adrenaline Rush. Go Girl. Monster.

Just the names of energy drinks makes me think of snowboarding at full speed down a mountain full of admiring fans while rock music is blasting and I do a triple backflip and then someone tosses me a can… of Screaming Energy. Thanks to this extremely caffeinated sugar water with extra Vitamin B and a hefty dose of some amino acid, I’m going to go back up that hill and do it all over again.

Who can resist that image? Energy drinks are common fare for teens. Containing a hefty dose of caffeine and sugar, energy drinks help sleep-deprived teens remain alert during the day, whether they’re on the slopes or just trying to stay awake in history class on 6 hours of sleep.

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Teen Marijuana Use

Teen marijuana use may seem like a normal part of the high school experience. How many of us know someone who uses or have personally have tried a blunt, a bowl, or a hit off of a friend’s bong?  I remember growing up and hearing my uncle talk about smoking a ‘joint’ with nostalgia as he recalled the 1970’s.  Well, marijuana is still extremely popular and when asked, many teens think it’s healthier than smoking cigarettes. However, marijuana can have major impacts on health and mood. Read full post »

Depressed or “Just Being a Teenager”?

Teens have a reputation for having mood swings, being withdrawn, and getting emotional over the strangest things. Given their general tumult, how is a parent supposed to tell if their teenager is simply “being a teenager”, or if they might be suffering from clinical depression?

Let’s go over some “danger signs”, which may indicate that your teenager needs, at the very least, a visit to their primary care provider (PCP) to discuss the situation.

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Teen Dating Violence


Dating violence is something no parent or family would want for their teen. Deciding when a teen should be allowed to date is tough enough.  Thoughts going through a parent’s mind may include worries about sex or heart break, but how many parents think about abusive relationships?

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A Photoshopped Fantasy… And Its Effects on Teen Girls

When you think of aspirations, do you think of traveling,  going back to school, or hopes for your family? Most of us have aspirations we are working towards, but if you represent L’Oreal, you might think of an airbrushed picture of Julia Roberts. When the Advertising Standards Agency of the U.K. banned Loreal’s ad featuring a very heavily airbrushed picture of the actress, calling it “misleading”, L’Oreal responded that the picture was supposed to be “aspirational.”

I had a few reactions. First of all, can we get one of those agencies in the U.S.? Second of all, isn’t Julia Roberts pretty enough on her own? Third, “aspirational”? I guess we are supposed to “aspire” to have perfect skin, or perhaps aspire to have enough extra spending cash that we can afford expensive creams and makeup for our imperfect faces.

Most adults know that photographs of models and actresses used in advertising and fashion magazines are heavily altered. But I am constantly stunned at how many of our teen girls have no idea. When we discuss it with them, they often light up. You mean I don’t have to live up to that?

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