Your Teen

Study: Obese Young Men Likely to Die Prematurely

Teenager boys who were obese at the age of 18 are one-third more likely to die prematurely compared to their normal weight peers.Teenager boys who were obese at the age of 18 are one-third more likely to die prematurely compared to their normal weight peers announced Swedish researchers on Wednesday. A study of more than 45,000 men underlines the dangers of being overweight and the need to tackle the growing problem of childhood obesity. The study also found that teens (both boys and girls) who were obese at the age of 18 are twice as likely to die prematurely.

Currently, the World Health Organization classifies more than 400 million people worldwide as obese, including 20 million children under the age of five. "Obesity and overweight were as hazardous as heavy and light smoking," Martin Neovius of the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and his colleagues wrote in the British Medical Journal. "The obesity pandemic seems to affect children and adolescents more than adults."

Your Teen

Teen Athletes Leading the Nation in Tommy John Surgeries

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Teen athletes accounted for more than half of the Tommy John surgeries performed in the U.S. from 2007 to 2011 according to a new study. The surgery is actually an ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (UCLR) graft procedure in which the ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow is replaced with a tendon from elsewhere in the body. Tommy John was the first Major League baseball pitcher to have the surgery and the nickname has now become common use.

 “Our results showed that 15- to 19-year-olds accounted for 56.7 percent of the Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction (UCLR) or Tommy John surgeries performed in the US between 2007 to 2011," said lead study author Brandon Erickson, MD, of Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, in a press release. "This is a significant increase over time with an average increase of 9.12 percent per year.”

Once a player has the surgery, he or she needs a good 12 to 15 months of recovery time before they are able to return to a high level of sport activity. Oftentimes, a second surgery may be required as the athlete continues to strain the ligament.

Baseball pitchers are the athletes that most often require the surgery because of the way they pitch; overhanded instead of underhanded. Many believe that the problems start in the teenage years with players who throw harder than ever and don't ever take a month off.

Dr. Erickson and his team looked at a private insurance database to identify patients who received UCLR surgeries throughout the US.

About 4 out of every 100,000 patients who had surgery between 2007 and 2011 had a UCLR surgery. These patients were overwhelmingly male, with 32 percent coming from the 15- to 17-year-old age group and 22 percent coming from the 20- to 24-year-old age group.

These surgeries grew at a rate of 4.2 percent each year between 2007 and 2011. And more than half were performed in the southern region of the US.

Another reason many teen athletes are susceptible to injury is that they play only one sport and play year-round, never giving their immature bodies enough time to rest and repair.

According to Dr. Erickson, more attention should be given to prevention because overuse injuries tend to occur in intensive training and high-performance games.

"The research numbers suggest that more young athletes believe that having an UCLR procedure performed earlier in their career may lead to the big leagues or a scholarship, even though only 1 in 200 kids who play high school baseball will make it to the MLB," Dr. Erickson said. "This paradigm shift needs to be evaluated further to help prevent overuse injuries in kids from the beginning of the season when most issues arise."

Some teens simply play through the pain without considering the possible long-term physical problems that could quickly end the career they worked so hard to attain. It’s up to the adults in their lives to watch over and give them the guidance they need to stay healthy. Parents and coaches need to make sure that their kids and students are following the safety rules established by the sport associations and organizations.

This study was presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine's annual meeting. Research presented at conferences may not have been peer- reviewed.

Source: Beth Greenwood, http://www.dailyrx.com/tommy-john-surgeries-elbow-overuse-injuries-were-common-teen-athletes

 

 

 

 

Your Teen

Chronic Pain in Teenagers on the Rise

1.45 to read

If your teenager tells you that he or she has a stomach ache it might be more than just an excuse to get out of doing something you’ve asked them to do.  A new study looks at chronic pain in teenagers and finds that hospital admissions for these youngsters has risen nine-fold between the years 2004 and 2010.

Researchers reported that 23% of the cases analyzed showed that the most common chronic pain teenagers experience is in the abdomen.

Other conditions included reflex sympathetic dystrophy syndrome (when an injury – such as an ankle sprain - does not heal properly and sends constant pain signals to the brain), chronic pain syndrome (pain lasting more than 3 months), headaches, migraines, limb pain and back pain.

"We are seeing a lot more young patients with chronic pain syndrome" said study author Dr. Thomas A. Coffelt, assistant professor of clinical medicine and pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis. "It is quite alarming to us."

For the study, researchers gathered information on 3,752 children admitted to 43 pediatric hospitals throughout the United States.

Teenage girls led the demographics with the average age being fourteen. The average hospital stay was 7.32 days.

The majority of hospitalized kids received additional diagnoses. The average was 10 diagnoses per child.  Children were also diagnosed with conditions such as abdominal pain, mood disorders, constipation and nausea. Altogether, 65 percent of patients received a gastrointestinal diagnosis, and 44 percent received a psychiatric diagnosis.

The results also showed that even after being hospitalized, many youngsters continued to have pain. Coffelt said that 12.5 percent of the children were back in the hospital within a year — 9.9 percent were readmitted at least once, and 2.6 percent more than once.

So what’s causing all this chronic pain? Experts aren’t really sure.  Coffelt says some secondary conditions could be playing a role. Conditions such as depression, anxiety and other mood disorders. A small percent of the young pain sufferers (2.1%) report physical, emotional and sexual abuse or assault.

"We can't identify the underlying [cause] of pain, which is why we struggle with it," Coffelt said. "We need to find a better way to treat these patients."

Gary A. Walco, director of pain medicine at Seattle Children's Hospital, who was not involved in the study, says chronic pain may not be as well understood by the medical community as it should be and that the condition is quite common in many children. 

"The chronic pain field now recognizes that a good deal of chronic pain has to do with a change in how the brain and spinal cord are processing the stimuli coming into the body," Walco said. "This study shines a light on how poorly understood and mismanaged recurrent and chronic pain syndromes are."  

The multiple diagnostic procedures and readmissions cited in the study underscore the need to do better when it comes to dealing with pain in youngsters, Walco said. Instead of treating chronic pain as an acute problem, physicians need to focus on rehabilitation, he explained.

And "rather than continuing to see pain as a symptom of another illness, parents need to recognize pain is the illness, and seek out a pain expert for treatment," Walco said.

If your child suffers from chronic pain, you can check with your local hospitals to see if there is access to a pediatric pain management specialist.

Living with chronic pain can cause kids to miss out on a lot of the joys of childhood. These children tend to drop out of sports programs and other extracurricular activities and sleep poorly. It also affects the rest of the family oftentimes adding extra tension and stress to the household.

Pain is complex and individualized. Pediatric pain is even more complex and difficult to manage, but it should not be ignored.

The study appeared in the July edition of the journal Pediatrics.

Source: http://www.livescience.com/37868-chronic-pain-children-teens.html

Your Teen

Parenting Style And Teen Drinking

2.00 to read

Researchers at Brigham Young University have found that teenagers who grow up with parents who are either too strict or too indulgent tend to binge drink more than their peers. A new study suggests that your child could become a binge drinker depending on your parenting style. For teenagers, friends play a big role in the decision to take that first drink. And by the 12th grade, more than 65 percent of teens have at least experimented with alcohol. But what parents do during the high school years can also influence whether teens go on to binge drink or abuse alcohol. Researchers at Brigham Young University have found that teenagers who grow up with parents who are either too strict or too indulgent tend to binge drink more than their peers. "While parents didn't have much of an effect on whether their teens tried alcohol, they can have a significant impact on the more dangerous type of drinking," says Stephen Bahr, a professor of sociology at BYU, and the author of the study that was published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. As part of the survey of 5,000 teenagers, Bahr and his colleagues asked 7th- to 12th-grade students a series of questions about their alcohol use. "We asked how many had taken five or more drinks in a row in the past two weeks," says Bahr. That's the typical definition of binge drinking. They also asked the kids about their parents: What kinds of rules did they have? Did their parents know where they were on weekends? Did their parents check up on their whereabouts and set curfews? How much oversight and monitoring was typical? The teens who were being raised by so-called indulgent parents who tend to give their children lots of praise and warmth — but offer little in the way of consequences or monitoring of bad behavior — were among the biggest abusers of alcohol. "They were about three times more likely to participate in heavy drinking," says Bahr. The same was true for kids whose parents were so strict that no decision was left to the teenager's own judgment. "Kids in that environment tend not to internalize the values and understand why they shouldn't drink," says Bahr. They were more than twice as likely to binge drink. Striking The Right Balance The parenting style that led to the lowest levels of problem drinking borrowed something from each of the extremes. From the strict parents: accountability and consequences for bad behavior. From the indulgent parents: warmth and support Bahr says these parents tend to be more balanced. "They recognize their kids when they do good things and praise them, but they offer direction and correction when they get off a little bit," he says. Lots of factors contribute to teenagers' experimentation with alcohol and drugs. Genes play a significant role, as do peer relationships. And the teenage years can be adversarial. "Parents get really frustrated with teenagers," says Aimee Stern, who has written “Delaying That First Drink: A Parents’ Guide.”  “I have two of them — and you can't tell them anything they don't already know." That's why it's important to start talking to kids about alcohol when they're young — as early as fourth grade, recommends Stern. Her free book, published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, is intended as a teaching tool for parents and contains plenty of evidence-based information on drinking and addiction. It explains the science of alcohol, both in terms of what it does to the body and the developing brain. The guide can be used as a companion to a series of Science Inside Alcohol lessons developed by AAAS or as a stand-alone tool that parents can use in talking with their children. More information about Aimee Stern’s free book “Delaying That First Drink: A Parent’s Guide”  is at http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2010/0927alcohol_book.shtml.

Your Teen

Internet May Be Newest Area for Teen Tobacco Exposure

No matter how much control you exercise over your teen's TV and movie watching, they may still be receiving positive tobacco messages via the Internet.No matter how much control you exercise over your teen’s TV and movie watching, they may still be receiving positive tobacco messages via the Internet. In particular that exposure could come from popular social networking sites like MySpace and Xanga.

A new study shows the Internet is the newest place for kids to get exposure to positive messages on tobacco use. Although tobacco content was found on less than 1 percent of the pages that teens view, there were more pro-tobacco pages than anti-tobacco pages. The study appears in the July 20, 2009 online issue of Pediatrics. "We found that only a small proportion of Internet sites visited by adolescents contained tobacco messages. The significance of these messages in social networking and their impact on adolescent tobacco attitudes and use remain unclear," wrote the study's authors. According to the American Lung Association, 90 percent of smokers start smoking by their 21st birthday. Every day in the U.S., about 3,600 kids between 12 and 17 try their first cigarette and about one-third of those will become regular smokers. For the study, researchers randomly selected 346 teenagers with home Internet access. The teens allowed the study authors to track all of their page views for a 30-day period. The researchers then searched those pages for tobacco-related content. In all, the study volunteers viewed 1.2 million Web pages. Of those, 8,702 (0.72 percent) contained tobacco or smoking content. Pro-tobacco messages were found on 1,916 pages and anti-tobacco content was included on 1,572 pages. The authors said the tobacco messages were "complex or unclear" on 5,055 pages. More than half of the tobacco-related page views, 53 percent, came from social networking sites. "That kids are being exposed to tobacco products in all facets of their lives is not a surprise," said Erika Sward, director of national advocacy for the lung association. "And I'm not surprised that the tobacco companies are on the cutting edge. They're always creative in finding new ways to target and prey on kids." Sward said the good news was that the study found that not all of the content teens were viewing was pro-tobacco, but the study highlights the need for legislation regarding how tobacco products are promoted online, and that tobacco-control programs should design counter-marketing methods for the Internet.

Your Teen

Teen Pregnancies Tied to Watching Sexy TV Shows

A new study released suggests that pregnancy rates are much higher among teens who watch a lot of television with sexual dialogue and behavior.A new study released suggests that pregnancy rates are much higher among teens who watch a lot of television with sexual dialogue and behavior than among teenagers who watch less mature television shows. The study, published in the November 2008 issue of Pediatrics is the first to link viewing habits with teen pregnancy said lead author Anita Chandra, a Rand Corp. behavioral scientist. The study found that teens that watched the raciest shows were twice as likely to become pregnant over the next three years as those who watched few such programs.

Earlier research by some of the same scientists involved in the current study found that watching lots of sex on television can influence teens to have sex at earlier ages. Shows that highlight only the positive aspects of sexual behavior without the risks can lead teens to have unprotected sex "before they're ready to make responsible and informed decisions," said Chandra. The study, which involved over 2,000 teens, asked the participants how often they watched more than 20 popular TV shows which were found to have lots of sexual content. Those programs included Sex and the City, That 70's Show, and Friends. Pregnancies were twice as common among those who said they watched such shows regularly than those teens that said they hardly ever saw them.

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Your Teen

Teens: Smoking Less, Texting While Driving More

2.00 to read

Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to emotional highs and lows and it typically shows in their behavior. Mixed in with lots of good days and excellent choices are temptations and decisions that put them at high risk for dangerous and sometimes deadly outcomes. It’s all part of the adolescent stage of life.

The good news is that a recent survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows teenagers are smoking cigarettes, using drugs, fighting and drinking alcohol less.

They’re also more likely to wear their seatbelts and helmets when they are supposed to.

On the flip side, more teens are obese and not getting enough sleep.

However, the most troubling new data shows that more than 40% of teenagers who drive cars admit to having texted or emailed while driving recently.

"We're encouraged to see that high school students are making better choices in some areas, like smoking, fighting, and alcohol use," said CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD.

However, other areas are concerning, he said, including the amount of time students spend glued to a screen instead of being active and a relatively new worry -- texting or emailing while driving.

Two in five of the 64% of students who reported driving in the 30 days before the survey also said they had been texting or emailing while behind the wheel, according to Stephanie Zaza, MD, director of the agency's Division of Adolescent and School Health.

"This puts them and other drivers at risk," she said.

On the whole though, there’s been really good progress made in teenager’s safety and health.

“I think it's really encouraging that we're seeing the lowest cigarette smoking rate ever,” Frieden told NBC News.

While smoking is the single biggest preventable cause of death in the United States — it causes heart disease, cancer and lung disease — teenagers face a more immediate risk. The single biggest killer of teens is motor vehicle crashes, causing 23% of deaths among 10 to 24-year-olds, CDC says.

Frieden believes that there’s a reason teens are buckling up more, whether they are behind the wheel or riding as a passenger.

“These positive trends didn't just happen. They're the result of hard work in communities all over the country — doing things like protecting kids from secondhand smoke, passing laws that are graduated driving laws so that kids don't drink and drive,” he said.

On the texting front, older teen drivers may do it more often. CDC found that 58% of high school seniors admitted to texting while driving.

Another positive statistic is that fewer teens are having sex. Unfortunately this good news is tempered with a down side. Teen sex is decreasing but so is condom use.

Just over a third of teenagers are currently sexually active.

Teens should use condoms even if they are also using other contraception, Frieden said. Pregnancy is a big worry, but STDs are even more likely, and Frieden fears "there may be a sense that, well, there's treatment for HIV so it's not such a terrible problem.”

There may be treatments for HIV but there’s no cure. People must take pills every single day for life and the virus can develop resistance to those medications.

The other long-term risks to health are poor diet and a lack of exercise. Teens are trying, but not reaching targets there, the survey indicates.

Results of this survey show that teens are making progress in some important safety and health related areas and, like most of us, need work in others. The fact that fewer teens are smoking is very good news. The increase in texting while driving is very troubling but not surprising considering that adults are doing the same thing.

Many of the safety and health issues teens are experiencing are not much different from what adults are doing and that’s where parents and guardians can make a big difference. Kids are much more likely to control their own behavior better when they see their parents doing the same.

Sources: Maggie Fox, http://www.nbcnews.com/health/kids-health/teen-smoking-sex-hit-new-lows-texting-fat-are-new-n129541

Your Teen

Teens Using Steroids To Achieve The “Perfect Body”

2.00 to read

Ask any teen if they’d like to be lean and muscular and most likely they are going to say yes. In fact more and more teenagers are turning to diet, exercise and protein powders to help them muscle up and lose weight. They are also using steroids and other muscle enhancing drugs in hopes of developing the “perfect body.”

Although boys most often use these techniques, girls are also turning to steroids in hopes of achieving more muscle and less fat.

A study released in the online journal Pediatrics, reports that 2,793 middle school and high school students were asked about the methods they used to increase their muscle size or tone. The average age was 14 and the students went to schools in the Minneapolis -St. Paul, Minnesota area.

The results showed that:

- 68% of boys; 62% of girls changed their eating habits.

- 91% of boys; 81% of girls exercised more.

- 35% of boys; 21% of girls used protein powders or shakes.

- 6% of boys; 5% of girls used steroids.

- 11% of boys; 6% of girls used muscle-enhancing substances such as creatine, amino acids, hydroxyl methylbutyrate (HMB), DHEA, or growth hormones.

The data did not indicate whether the diets were healthy or not or what type of exercise was adopted.

The findings suggests that "increasing muscle strength or mass or tone is an important piece of body image for both boys and girls," says lead study author Marla Eisenberg, professor of pediatrics at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine. "Kids really are seeing that as a goal."

Some experts on child health are concerned that kids are exercising, dieting, drinking protein drinks and using steroids not because they want to have a healthy physique but because they are trying to create what they think is the cultural ideal of the “perfect body.” Health and fitness are not their main objectives, looking a particular way is. 

With an epidemic of adolescent obesity in this country, few people could argue that a healthy diet and exercise are bad ideas. However, when kids believe that they must look like someone in a magazine ad or a professional athlete to be accepted by their peers, they run the risk of trying unhealthy diet fads, over exercising and taking muscle- enhancing substances that can have serious side-effects.

This study is a reminder that parents and physicians need to be aware that these behaviors are going on and that they need to be discussed with their adolescents, says Joel Brenner, medical director of the Sports Medicine Program at Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk, Va., and chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Sports Medicine and Fitness.

The use of steroids and other performance-enhancing substances is clearly dangerous and needs to be avoided, but inappropriate changes to diet or exercise can also be hazardous, he says.

Parents can help their teens keep fitness and health as goals by making sure they are involved with their children’s activities and by keeping communication open. Ask your child what they think the benefits of diet and exercise are, and listen carefully to his or her answers.

Healthy diet and active exercise are the tried and true ways to a normal body weight and healthy body. Protein powders or shakes are unnecessary if you’re getting plenty of high-level protein in your diet. Anabolic steroids can lead to stunted growth in teens, abnormal enlargement of the heart and liver damage.

These days even very young children are aware of body image. Television, movies, video games, and some toys tend to glorify a certain muscular physique that’s difficult to achieve and even more difficult to maintain. It’s important to know how your child perceives their own body and to talk them about the difference between being healthy and fit versus an idealized body projection. 

Kids can look up what protein powders to take online and there are plenty of social media sites where teens can find support groups that promote unhealthy behaviors.

If your child shows an interest in weight lifting or changing their diet that can actually be a very good thing, just monitor their activity and make sure they are making these changes for the right reasons.

Source: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2012/11/19/muscle-building-techniques-teens/1708973/

Your Teen

Parenting Tweens & Teens

2.15 to read

As a mother or father, who hasn’t wished that their child came with a “How To Be The Perfect Parent” handbook? It would be nice if for every stage of emotional and physical growth there was a clear –one size fits all- plan that would take the stress and confusion out of developing good parenting skills. Alas though, there’s no such thing, but there are experts who can help guide you. 

With children come different personalities that respond uniquely to his or her situations. It’s part of the challenge of raising a mature, thoughtful and self-sufficient adult.

The tween and teen years can be some of the most challenging times for child and parent relationships.

What is a “tween?” The tween years are approximately 9-14. It is less an age category than a developmental stage when your son or daughter is no longer a child and not yet a teen. Today puberty is statistically happening at younger ages on the average and that could be confusing to parents who think that their kids will be childlike until they’re 12.

More focus is placed on tween behaviors now than just 2 or 3 generations ago. Society has changed dramatically during the last decade.  Media images that encourage “grown-up” looks and behaviors as well exposure to sexualized fashion, music, and even dolls has had an enormous impact on this generation of youngsters.  The tween years aren’t what they used to be.

Everything is in flux as your little one strives for more independence, and you try your best to help them avoid making mistakes that can last a lifetime. And then there is the “generational gap” that puts a strain on being able to even have a civil conversation. Fashion, music, drugs, alcohol, sex, movies, cars, celebrities, school and peers begin to play a larger role in their life than you can possibly imagine.

And then there are teenagers, the adolescent years between 13 and 19. 

There may not be a one size fits all easy-peasy guide to parenting available, but there are tips from experts that can help parents navigate the rough waters of the tween and teen years.

WebMD.com delves into 5 common mistakes parents make as their children hit the unpredictable tween and teen years. Let’s take a look at some recommendations.

Parenting Mistake # 1- Expecting the worse from your child.

Although the tween and teen years can be difficult, expecting the worse from your child can lead to self-fulfilling behaviors. 

Teenagers get a bad rap, says Richard Lerner, PhD, director of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University. Many parents approach raising teenagers as an ordeal, believing they can only watch helplessly as their lovable children transform into unpredictable monsters. Expecting the worst sets parents and teens up for several unhappy, unsatisfying years together.

“The message we give teenagers is that they’re only ‘good’ if they’re not doing ‘bad’ things, such as doing drugs, hanging around with the wrong crowd, or having sex,” Lerner tells WebMD. Raising teenagers with negative expectations can actually promote the behavior you fear most. According to a recent study conducted at Wake Forest University, teens whose parents expected them to get involved in risky behaviors reported higher levels of these behaviors one year later.

Lerner urges parents to focus on their teenagers’ interests and hobbies, even if you don’t understand them. You could open a new path of communication, reconnect with the child you love, and learn something new.

Parenting Mistake # 2 – Reading too many parenting books.

What was I just saying about wanting a book to provide all the parenting answers? It appears that is not only impossible, but it’s not even a good idea.

Rather than trusting their instincts, many parents turn to outside experts for advice on how to raise teens. “Parents can tie themselves into knots trying to follow the advice they read in books,” says Robert Evans, EdD, executive director of the Human Relations Service, Wellesley, Mass., and author of Family Matters: How Schools Can Cope with the Crisis in Child Rearing.

“Books become a problem when parents use them to replace their own innate skills,” Evans tells WebMD. “If the recommendations and their personal style don’t fit, parents wind up more anxious and less confident with their own children.”

Use books (and articles like this) to get perspective on confusing behavior and then put them down. Spend the extra time talking with your spouse and children, getting clear about what matters most to you and your family.

Parenting Mistake #3 - Sweat the Small Stuff 

Too often, we all sweat the small stuff, and sometimes ignore the big stuff. It’s certainly much easier to focus in on a behavior that we don’t like instead of trying to deal with a behavior that is frightening or dangerous.

Maybe you don’t like your daughter’s haircut or choice of clothes. Or perhaps she didn’t get the part in the play you know she deserves. Before you intervene, look at the big picture. If a certain mode of self-expression or set of events does not put your child at risk, give her the leeway to make age-appropriate decisions and live with the results.

“A lot of parents don’t want growing up to involve any pain, disappointment, or failure,” Evans says. But protecting your child from the realities of life robs her of the opportunity to take chances and learn from her mistakes while she’s still under your roof. Step back and let your child know you’re there when she needs you.

Parenting Mistake # 4 - Ignore the Big Stuff 

The big stuff is where things get dicey.

If you suspect your child is using alcohol or drugs, do not look the other way. Parents should address suspected drug or alcohol use right away, before it escalates into a bigger problem, says Amelia M. Arria, PhD, director of the Center on Young Adult Health and Development at the University of Maryland School of Public Health.

“The years when kids are between 13 and 18 years old are an essential time for parents to stay involved,” Arria tells WebMD. Parents might consider teen drinking a rite of passage because they drank when they were that age. “But the stakes are higher now,” she says.

More drugs are available today, illegal drugs and legal medications. For example, cough remedies with DXM (dextromethorphan) have become a new drug of choice for some teens. DXM is easy to get and teens and parents alike underrate its potential dangers. Studies show that between 7% and 10% of U.S. teens have reported abusing cough medicine to get high. Although safe when used as directed, DXM can cause hallucinations and disassociations similar to PCP or ketamine (Special K) when used in excessive amounts, as well as rapid heartbeat, unconsciousness, stomach pain, and vomiting.

Watch for unexplained changes in your teen’s behavior, appearance, academic performance, and friends. If you find empty cough medicine packaging in your child’s trash or backpack, if bottles of medicine go missing from your cabinet, or if you find unfamiliar pills, pipes, rolling papers, or matches, your child could be abusing drugs. Take these signs seriously and get involved. Safeguard all the medicines you have: Know which products are in your home and how much medication is in each package or bottle.

Drugs are not the only “Big stuff” to keep an eye on; too much time on the computer or texting, sexual activities and interests, distracted driving habits are just a few other categories that require more attention from parents.

Tweens and teens make mistakes and get themselves in over their head with drugs and alcohol, sexual behaviors, poor school grades and more. These risk behaviors can become real problems in your teen's life and be hurdles in the way of their success. While it's important for a parent of a teenager to allow privacy, we also have to be monitoring what our teens are into so we can help guide them away from risk taking behaviors. Your teen needs to have limits in your home. When you allow your teen to do anything they want, they will begin to take control and you are no longer the parent.

Parenting Mistake #5 - Rule With an Iron Fist, or Kid Gloves

Some parents, sensing a loss of control over their teens’ behavior, crack down every time their child steps out of line. Every day brings a new punishment. The home becomes a war zone. By contrast, other parents avoid all conflict for fear their teens will push them away. They put being a cool parent ahead of setting limits and enforcing rules. For these parents, discipline is a dirty word.

This style of parenting focuses on obedience above all else. Although the house may run like a tight ship, teens raised in rigid environments don’t have the opportunity to develop problem-solving or leadership skills.

Yet too little discipline does a disservice to teens as well. Teenagers need clear structure and rules to live by as they start to explore the world outside. It is up to parents to establish their household’s core values and communicate these to their children through words and consistent actions. Lerner calls this being an authoritative parent, an approach that “helps children develop the skills they need to govern themselves in appropriate ways.”

 

One key thing to remember about the tween and teen years is .. it’s not personal. It may feel very personal when your child yells that they hate you, can’t stand you, or never wants to see you again, but in most cases, it’s an angry outburst driven by not getting their way.  Remember your teen years?  We’ve all said things we regret later, learning to communicate effectively with your teen or tween smoothes a lot of bumpy roads.

Keep in mind that your influence runs deeper than you think. Most teens say they want to spend more time with their parents. And teens choose friends that have their parents’ core values. Keep making time for your child throughout the tween and teen years. Even when it doesn’t show, you provide the solid ground they know they can always come home to.

 

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