For many, bicycles remind us of warm summer days cruising through the neighborhood to a friend’s or down the street for a cold treat! As tempting as it might be to hop on your bike and fly down the sunny street, feeling the wind in your hair, one bad decision could ruin a summer and potentially a lot more. Growing up, I remember wanting to ride my bike a few blocks to a friend’s and being frustrated with my parents for making me wear my big, unflattering and not to mention uncomfortable bike helmet. My parent’s made it very clear that wearing a helmet was not optional. Like most children my age, I eventually gave in. Read full post »
The Food and Drug Administration recently announced new regulations on electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), such as vape pens and electronic cigarettes. Anyone who wants to purchase one of these devices must be at least 18 years of age and be able to show valid identification at the time of purchase. Under the regulation, ENDS can’t be given out for free or sold in vending machines accessible to minors.
What are some of the reasons why the FDA moved forward with starting to regulate electronic nicotine delivery? Isn’t tobacco use among teens going down? Read full post »
We all have memories of our childhood, some good some bad, some for better others for worse. Whether you were a victim, bully, or bystander, bullying has impacted us all. For me, I was in elementary school and there was a girl I distinctly remember people picking on. Kids would call her names, make fun of her hair, or shoes, or whatever irrelevant detail it was for that particular day. I don’t remember ever personally picking on her, but I know for a fact I never said or did anything to defend her. I was a silent bystander. When I was in 7th grade I learned she had taken her own life. I have always wondered if someone had stood up and not been the silent bystander if it would have changed her path.
According to research about 22% of high school students (one out of every four students) report being bullied during the school year. Bullying is a multifaceted problem with three main players: 1) the bully, 2) the victim, and 3) the bystander. The bystander is the person who sees the situation unfold and makes a choice to either contribute to the bullying behavior, quietly watch, or actively step in and stand up for the victim. Research has shown that about 57% of bullying incidents stop when a peer intervenes on behalf of the student being bullied and has a stronger impact compared to adult/educator intervention. Read full post »
The recent trial of a Stanford undergrad has stirred up conversations about justice, consenting to sex, alcohol consumption, and unequal treatment in judicial proceedings this week. These are not light topics, but each of the issues discussed has implications for anyone raising a teen. The woman who was the victim of the sexual assault wrote an extremely powerful statement that was shared on social media. I read her statement and it has impacted me. The way I plan to approach these topics in clinical encounters as well as in my personal life (as a mom, aunt, and friend) has shifted from one of focusing on the individual to one of considering our cultural norms regarding sexual consent and women, not as fellow human beings but as sexual objects. Read full post »
When a Stomachache is More Than a Stomachache
A few months into my adolescent medicine fellowship, I saw a patient with a fairly routine complaint: abdominal pain. But Tammy, the young woman in question, stuck with me, because of what she identified as the cause of her pain: an act of bullying, a few weeks before, on MySpace. Not so routine after all.
In 2006, when I first wondered aloud if other teens and young adults had experiences similar to Tammy’s, many people were unsure what social media really was, let alone if it was permanent or pervasive. Almost no one believed it could affect a person’s emotional or physical well-being.
Tammy’s visit illuminated the connection between social media and health. Her visit was one of the main reasons why I started the Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team, or SMAHRT, in 2008 at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.
SMAHRT is dedicated to providing robust research on teens. We are taking a close look at social media patterns in teens like Tammy, who are sometimes a target of what we now readily identify as “cyberbullying,” as well as teens who have never struggled with social media, and all of those in between. Read full post »
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 »
I’ve had the privilege of working with truly amazing families. I am always in awe of how much parents love their children. That love doesn’t diminish as babies grown into children and children grow into teens. Seattle Children’s Hospital holds parents in high regard as well. We value your input and need your help to continue to improve the care we provide.
In the Division of Adolescent Medicine, we’re placing a call to ask for parents who have received care in our clinic to help us continue to advance the services we provide. This is an opportunity for parents from the Adolescent Clinic to be involved in an advisory panel.
The panel position is a 2 year commitment and in that time you will be able to participate with clinicians in developing and reviewing educational materials for the clinic, as well as helping to review the curriculum for the Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH) fellowship. LEAH is a grant offered to only a few institutions around the nation that trains people from a variety of disciplines (such as Medicine, Social Work, Psychology, Nutrition, Nursing, and Health Administration) to become leaders in adolescent health.
The position is open to any parent who has an adolescent who has been a patient in the Seattle Children’s Hospital inpatient or outpatient clinic settings.
Interested candidates can email: ADOLEAHPAC@seattlechildrens.org
Thank you in advance for considering this position!
Seattle Children’s Hospital has amazing researchers looking at a variety of pediatric health concerns from concussion prevention to internet use. The Social Media & Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT) lead by Dr. Megan Moreno includes people with a passion for looking at the health of adolescents as it relates to online and social media use. In 2014, this team held the first SMAHRT Conference and I was fortunate enough to attend. We discussed blogging, tweeting, social media sites, had an ‘appy hour’ where instead of ‘happy hour’ we spent the hour getting to know each other.
I’m excited to announce that the SMAHRT Conference is back! This year it will be held June 28-29, 2016 with topics including:
- How community organizations use social media to connect to teens
- How social media is addressed in school curricula
- How social media is used in research for recruitment, screening or intervention
- Hot topics:
- Problematic Internet Use
Everyone is welcome to attend! This includes parents, teens, media, health educators, researchers, medical providers, and community members.
Register online at:
Recently a friend described how she’d had ‘the talk’ with her teen son. She felt it was time to sit down and talk specifically about relationships (including sex) because her son has a girlfriend and they spend a lot of time together. Our conversation about her experience was entertaining and enlightening. She described how it was awkward for her, but she knew she needed to get her concerns out in the open. She also recognized that ‘the talk’ is really just the start of an ongoing dialogue about relationships and intimacy. Here were some of our take away tips for parents of teens who may be reluctant to talk about sex, feelings, and romantic encounters. Read full post »
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 »