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Your Teen

Stop Yelling at Your Teenager!

2.30 to read

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that anyone who has a child has yelled at him or her at one time or another. As parents, we’ve all lost our patience when we believe our child is misbehaving. If ever there is a time when parents and kids are standing at the crossroad of “Listen to me” and “I don’t need to”, it’s during the teenage years.

Tempers often ignite with harsh words being said.  

While you may be trying to make an important point, aggressive yelling and screaming only pushes your child away and may be doing much more harm than good according to a new study.

An analysis involving nearly 1,000 two-parent families and their adolescent children suggests that such harsh verbal lashings not only don't cut back on misbehavior, they actually promote it.

The end result: an uptick in the kind of adolescent rage, stubbornness and irritation that escalates rather than stops or prevents disobedience and conflict.

"Most parents who yell at their adolescent children wouldn't dream of physically punishing their teens," noted study author Ming-Te Wang, an assistant professor with the department of psychology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education. "Yet, their use of harsh verbal discipline -- defined as shouting, cursing or using insults -- is just as detrimental to the long-term well-being of adolescents," he said.

"Our findings offer insight into why some parents feel that no matter how loud they shout, their teenagers do not listen," Wang added. "Indeed, not only does harsh verbal discipline appear to be ineffective at addressing behavior problems in youth, it actually appears to increase such behaviors."

Wang and his co-author, Sarah Kenny of the University of Michigan, report their findings in the current issue of the journal Child Development.

The researchers were particularly interested in kids between 13 and 14 years old so they focused on 976 primarily middle-class families in Pennsylvania with young adolescent offspring, all of whom were already participating in a long-term study exploring family interaction and adolescent development. A little more than half the families were white, while 40 percent were black.

The teen participants were asked to disclose recent behavioral issues such as in-school disturbances, stealing, fighting, damaging property or lying to their parents.

Their parents were asked how often they used harsh verbal discipline such as yelling, screaming, swearing or cursing at their child. Most importantly, if they called their child names like “dumb” or “lazy.”

The teens were also asked to what degree they felt “warmth” in their relationship with their parents. Researchers inquired about the amount of parental love, emotional support, affection and care the kids felt like they received from their parents. Both teens and parental depression were tracked.

The study points out that the children who were on the receiving end of the harsh verbal attacks experienced an increase in anger and a drop in inhibitions. Those two reactions prompted an intensification of the very things that parents were hoping to stop – such as lying, cheating, stealing or fighting.

"Parents who wish to modify their teenage children's behavior would do better by communicating with them on an equal level," Wang said, "and explaining their rationale and worries to them. Parenting programs are in a good position to offer parents insight into how behaviors they may feel the need to resort to, such as shouting or yelling, are ineffective and or harmful, and to offer alternatives to such behaviors."

Parents get frustrated with their children and vice versa. None of us behave perfectly all the time. Raising your voice because you are frustrated is one thing, name calling and screaming is quite another.

Imagine if you were at work and your boss screamed at you, called you names and cursed at you because he or she didn’t like how you did something. That may have actually happened to you – remember how you felt, or think about how you would feel. Humiliated, angry and sad are the most common reactions people have.  

Children are trying to find their way in life; parents are their guides. The next time you feel you’re on the verge of screaming or saying hurtful things to your child - walk away. Give yourself time to cool down and find a better way to communicate.

People say kids are resilient and get over things quickly. Many are able to bounce back when bad things happen, but that saying is too often used to excuse bad behavior on a parent’s part. If you’ve crossed the line with your child, say you’re sorry and come up with better ways to handle your frustration and anger.

Words and tone matter and the best teaching method is by example. You can help your child learn what love, patience, tolerance, compassion and respect are by being an example of those very qualities.

Source: Alan Moses,

Daily Dose

Teens & Smoking

1:15 to read

Nearly 23% of high school students use tobacco products and according to the CDC more than 90 percent of those teens smoke cigarettes, cigars, hookahs or pipes. Another statistic, “nine out of ten smokers tried their first cigarette by age 18”. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, “unless there is a drop in youth smoking rates, 5.6 million youth currently aged 17 and younger will die early from smoking-related diseases”.


I know that I see many teens who admit to smoking (not only cigarettes) and many of these teens think that they will be able to quit smoking when they “want to” . But studies show that about 75 percent of high school smokers will continue smoking into adulthood. 


So I was interested when I came across an article in one of my journals about a  free app that was created by the Tobacco Control Research Branch at the National Cancer Institute.  The app called QuitSTART is geared specifically for teens. The app was developed with input from both smoking cessation experts and ex-smokers. 


When you get on the app you will see that you need to provide information about your smoking history and then the app will give you personalized tips as to how to quit smoking. The app also lets you monitor your progress and earn “badges” for smoke free milestones. It also sends inspirational messages and challenges to help a teen become “smoke free”. The app also has links to games to distract you from nicotine cravings and you can even “share” your progress on social media. This is a great use of social media!


I can’t wait to tell my next teen smoker about this app, because I know it isn’t easy to quit smoking. But, if you have tried smoking, you already know this. This app seems like a good, free and easy way to “kick the habit” sooner rather than later. 



Your Teen

AAP: Raise the Smoking Age to 21 for Tobacco, e-Cigarettes


The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) wants the minimum age to purchase tobacco products and e-cigarettes raised to 21 across the United States. In new policy recommendations, the AAP released a statement urging more than two- dozen tough regulations to help reduce youth smoking and addiction to nicotine.

Nicotine is considered physically and psychologically addictive, with some experts claiming that it is as additive and hard to kick as heroin and other hard narcotics.

The AAP also calls for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to finally regulate e-cigarettes the same way it regulates other tobacco products. The FDA has issued a proposed rule that would extend the agency’s tobacco authority to cover additional products that meet the legal definition of a tobacco product, such as e-cigarettes.

"Most adolescents don't use just one nicotine product but will commonly use or experiment with several," said Dr. Harold Farber, lead author of two of the statements and a pediatric pulmonologist at Texas Children's Hospital. "Research to date shows that adolescents who experiment with e-cigarettes and conventional cigarettes are much more likely to go on to become regular cigarette smokers and less likely to stop cigarette smoking."

Currently, only Hawaii and about 90 cities and communities in several other states have a law requiring a minimum age of 21 to purchase tobacco products, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

"As the brain matures, the ability to make decisions with important health consequences should likewise improve," said Dr. Danelle Fisher, vice chair of pediatrics at Providence Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, Calif. "Thus, slightly older young adults may choose to forgo tobacco products," suggested Fisher, who was not involved with the new policy recommendations.

Not only would the AAP like to see e-cigarettes regulated, but also their candy-like flavors and menthol eliminated.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,  more adolescents used e-cigarettes than any other tobacco product in 2014.

In addition to calling for FDA control of e-cigarettes, the AAP recommended that smoke-free laws expand to include e-cigarettes. The group recommends that use of any tobacco or nicotine products, including e-cigarettes, be banned in all workplaces, schools, dormitories, bars, restaurants, health care facilities, sidewalks, parks, recreational and sports facilities, entertainment venues and multi-unit housing.

"The jury on e-cigarettes remains out, but it is clear that carcinogens and potentially harmful substances are nonetheless present in this alternate nicotine delivery system," said Dr. Jack Jacoub, director of thoracic oncology at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center's MemorialCare Cancer Institute in Fountain Valley, Calif.

Other policy recommendations include a ban on Internet sales of e-cigarettes, a tax on e-cigarettes at the same rate as traditional cigarettes and a requirement for adult ratings on any entertainment depicting e-cigarette use.

The AAP also recommended banning advertising of tobacco products and e-cigarettes in all media, including television, radio, print, billboards, signs and online, and in stores where children and teens might see them..

Another concern is the number of young children who have suffered nicotine poisoning from accidently ingesting liquid nicotine. Poison control centers receive more than 200 calls per month for accidental ingestion of nicotine for e-cigarettes, the AAP noted, and one toddler died last year from swallowing some. The APP recommends child-resistant packaging for these products.

"Toddlers and young children love to explore new things and to put things in their mouths, so it is imperative that packaging and childproofing be done to enhance the safety of their environments," Fisher said. "This is analogous to having childproof caps on pill bottles."

The new policies were presented Monday at the group's national conference and published online simultaneously in the journal Pediatrics.

Source: Tara Haelle,

Daily Dose

No More Energy Drinks for Your Kids

New guidelines from the AAP states your tweens & teens should not be using enery drinks. Dr. Sue weighs in.Last week, we discussed the new report from the American Academy of Pediatrics outlining the use of sports and energy drinks.  So, what exactly is an “energy” drink?

As you know from previous post, a sports drink is a flavored beverage that contains carbohydrates, mineral and electrolytes and sometimes other vitamins and nutrients. In contrast, an “energy” drink typically contains a stimulant such as caffeine or guarana with varying amounts of carbs, protein, amino acids as well as other minerals and/ or vitamins. In the recently published new guidelines by the AAP they state “stimulant containing energy drinks have no place in the diets of children or adolescents”. Many of the so called energy drinks contain substances that are non-nutritive stimulants such as caffeine, guarana, taurine, ginseng, L-carnitine, creatine and/or glucuronolactone.  All of these substances are purported to provide performance enhancing effects. While “energy” drinks often provide carbs, the primary source of “energy” is the stimulant caffeine. Many adolescents ingest large amounts of caffeine in a variety of forms. The new “energy” drinks contain varied amounts of caffeine, and are often more than a cola beverage. The caffeine content in these “energy” drinks is often not on the label and may exceed 500 mg (equivalent to 14 CANS of a carbonated cola drink), and is enough to result in caffeine toxicity. Did you know a lethal dose of caffeine is considered to be 200-400mg/kg?  In 2005 poison control centers reported more than 4600 calls for questions regarding caffeine ingestion and 2600 of these calls involved children less than 19 years of age. Caffeine has effects on both the cardiovascular and developing neurologic system of a child. There is also the risk of physical dependence and addiction. One study showed that children 6-10 years of age ingested caffeine on an average of 8 out of 10 days!  Another study showed that of 78 adolescents surveyed, 42.3% had consumed energy drinks in the 2 weeks prior to the survey. Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal include headache, fatigue, decreased alertness, difficulty concentrating, irritability and depressed mood. (Sounds like the complaints of many teens I see). If a child or teen is mistakenly buying an energy drink for use in re-hydration, they may be ingesting huge amounts of stimulants, especially if they are drinking one energy drink after the next. At the same time, some adolescents are intentionally buying energy drinks for the stimulant effects, in hopes of combating fatigue while at school and during sporting events.  The use of these energy drinks with underage alcohol ingestion is yet another topic. So, there is NO Place for the use of energy drinks among children and adolescents and this topic needs to be reiterated by parents, pediatricians, schools and coaches. What do you think? Will you talk to your kids about their use of energy drinks?  I would love your comments.

Daily Dose

Miley Cyrus Smoking Salvia

Video of Miley Cyrus smoking salvia has been making the rounds on-air and online. What is salvia and why are tweens/teens smoking this herb? As you know, I always try to stay abreast of new stories and pop culture trends that might affect my patients (as well as my own family). One recent event caught my eye. The video of Miley Cyrus allegedly smoking salvia has been viewed by many. Prior to this I had not heard very much about salvia. As it turns out, I should have.

It seems that this plant (a member of the mint family) is a well-known naturally occurring hallucinogen.  Salvia is actually the most potent naturally occurring hallucinogen (LSD is a synthetic hallucinogen) and has become quite a sensation among the adolescent crowd who often post videos of themselves after smoking or ingesting salvia. It is in this manner that adolescents became aware of the effects of salvia and realized that it is easy to obtain either on line or in smoke shops. Over the last several years as salvia has gained more attention, it has been banned from being sold in 20 states in the U.S. with even more states considering legislation.  That does not seem to prevent its sale on line as a Google search listed pages of sites with salvia for sale. The effects of salvia typically occur almost immediately after smoking the herb, and typically last about 5 – 8 minutes. It is common to see speech and coordination problems, along with a feeling of giddiness and disorientation.  Salvia activates opioid receptors in the brain which causes the differing hallucinogenic symptoms.  It has the potential to be both physically and psychologically addictive, especially in the adolescent population who are dealing with multiple issues during their maturation. For a teen who is sad, depressed or anxious, the use of salvia may become a way to mask their problems rather than dealing with their issues. While a teen’s first encounter with salvia may be a ”one time” exposure at a party, the easy availability of this plant on line may make it more appealing for repetitive use.  Salvia may also be chewed or consumed in a liquid, as well as inhaling herb.  The latest “Monitoring the Future Survey” which ask teens about their recent drug use did not show an increase in salvia use among 12th graders, but it did show that 1.7% of eighth graders had admitted to using salvia at least once. The concern is that these numbers may rise and the DEA has labeled salvia a “drug of concern”.  With the YouTube video of Miley Cyrus using salvia, there are now even younger kids aware of the plant and its effects.  Children as young as 10-12 years are reporting salvia usage.  I have asked many of my pre-teen and adolescent patients about salvia, and while most deny usage they all seemed to “know” what salvia was and how they could get it. So, yet another discussion for parents to have with their children. This also brings home the necessity of monitoring not only what your children watch on line but what they buy. Salvia appears to be pretty cheap and is easily purchased with a PayPal account.

Your Teen

10 Reasons Teens Act The Way They Do


Anyone in the midst of raising a teen knows that the adolescent years can be some of the most difficult to get through and understand.

As a parent or guardian of a teenager that wants to be more independent, but also needs supervision and guidance, the times can be challenging indeed.

If that’s the position you find yourself in, you may be asking – what’s going on in that youngster’s brain? Actually, there’s a lot happening!

There are several scientific reasons an adolescent brain can be similar to a toddler’s: After infancy, the brain's most dramatic growth spurt occurs in adolescence. Here’s 10 things you may not know about your teen’s brain.

10. Critical period of development. Adolescence is generally considered to be the years between 11 and 19. It’s easy to see the outward changes that occur in boys and girls during this time, but inside, their brains are working on overdrive.

"The brain continues to change throughout life, but there are huge leaps in development during adolescence," said Sara Johnson, an assistant professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Parents should understand that no matter how tall their son has sprouted or how grown-up their daughter dresses, "they are still in a developmental period that will affect the rest of their life," Johnson told LiveScience

9. The growing brain. Scientists used to believe the greatest leap in neuronal connections occurred in infancy, but brain imaging studies show that a second burst of neuronal sprouting happens right before puberty, peaking at about age 11 for girls and 12 for boys.

The adolescent's experiences shape this new grey matter, mostly following a "use it or lose it" strategy, Johnson said. The structural reorganization is thought to continue until the age of 25, and smaller changes continue throughout life.

8. New Thinking Skills. This increase in brain matter allows the teenager to become more interconnected and gain processing power, Johnson notes.

If given time and access to information, adolescents start to have the computational and decision-making skills of an adult. However, their decisions may be more emotional than objective because their brains rely more on the limbic system (the emotional seat of the brain) than the more rational prefrontal cortex.

"This duality of adolescent competence can be very confusing for parents," Johnson said, meaning that sometimes teens do things, like punching a wall or driving too fast, when, if asked, they clearly know better.

Sound familiar?

7.  Teen tantrums. While teens are acquiring amazing new skills during this time, they aren’t that good at using them yet, especially when it comes to social behavior and abstract thought.

That’s when parents can become the proverbial guinea pig. Many kids this age view conflict as a type of self-expression and may have trouble focusing on an abstract idea or understanding another's point of view.

Particularly in today’s heavy media influenced world, teens are dealing with a huge amount of social, emotional and cognitive flux says Sheryl Feinstein, author of Inside the Teenage Brain: Parenting a Work in Progress (Rowman and Littlefield, 2009.)

That’s when they need a more stable adult brain (parents) to help them stay calm and find the better path.

6. Intense emotions. Remember the limbic system mentioned earlier (the more emotional part of the brain)? It’s accelerated development, along with hormonal changes, may give rise to newly intense experiences of rage, fear, aggression (including towards oneself), excitement and sexual attraction.

Over the course of adolescence, the limbic system comes under greater control of the prefrontal cortex, the area just behind the forehead, which is associated with planning, impulse control and higher order thought.

As teens grow older, additional areas in the brain start to help it process emotions and gain equilibrium in decision-making and interpreting others. But until that time, teens can often misread parents and teachers Feinstein said.

5. Peer pressure. As teens become better at abstract thinking, their social anxiety begins to increase.  Ever wonder why your teen seems obsessed with what others are thinking and doing?

Abstract reasoning makes it possible to consider yourself from the eyes of another. Teens may use this new skill to ruminate about what others are thinking of them. In particular, peer approval has been shown to be highly rewarding to the teen brain, Johnson said, which may be why teens are more likely to take risks when other teens are around.

Friends also provide teens with opportunities to learn skills such as negotiating, compromise and group planning. "They are practicing adult social skills in a safe setting and they are really not good at it at first," Feinstein said. So even if all they do is sit around with their friends, teens are hard at work acquiring important life skills.

4. Measuring risk.  "The brakes come online somewhat later than the accelerator of the brain," said Johnson, referring to the development of the prefrontal cortex and the limbic system respectively.

At the same time, "teens need higher doses of risk to feel the same amount of rush adults do," Johnson said. Not a very comforting thought for parents.

This is a time when teens are vulnerable to engaging in risky behaviors, such as trying drugs, sex, getting into fights or jumping into unsafe water.

So what can a parent do during this risky time? "Continue to parent your child." Johnson said. Like all children, "teens have specific developmental vulnerabilities and they need parents to limit their behavior," she said.

It’s when being a parent to your child instead of trying to be their “friend” is more difficult but much more important for their physical and emotional safety.

3. Yes, parents are still important. According to Feinstein, a survey of teenagers revealed that 84 percent think highly of their mothers and 89 percent think highly of their fathers. And more than three-quarters of teenagers enjoy spending time with their parents; 79 percent enjoy hanging out with Mom and 76 percent like chilling with Dad. That’s not 100%, but it’s probably more than you thought.

One of the tasks of adolescence is separating from the family and establishing some autonomy, Feinstein said, but that does not mean a teen no longer needs parents – even if they say otherwise.

"They still need some structure and are looking to their parents to provide that structure," she said. "The parent that decides to treat a 16 or 17 year old as an adult is behaving unfairly and setting them up for failure." 

Listening to your teen and being a good role model, especially when dealing with stress and the other difficulties life can present, can help your teen figure out their own coping strategies.

2. Sleep. Ah, yes, sleep. Although teens need 9 to 10 hours of sleep a night, their bodies are telling them a different story. Part of the problem is a shift in circadian rhythms during adolescence: It makes sense to teen bodies to get up later and stay up later, Johnson said.

But due to early bussing and class schedules, many teens rack up sleep debt and "become increasingly cognitively impaired across the week," Johnson said. Sleep-deprivation only exacerbates moodiness and cloudy decision-making. And sleep is thought to aid the critical reorganization of the teen brain.

"There is a disconnect between teen’s bodies and our schedules," Johnson said.

Shutting down the electronics an hour before bedtime has been shown to help teens as well as adults get to sleep quicker and sleep better. No computer, TV, video games or cell phones.

1.The “I am the Center of the Universe” syndrome. You may have noticed that your teen’s hormones are causing quite a bit of havoc. Experts say that’s to be expected. But you may still wonder- what the heck is going on with my kid?

The hormone changes at puberty have huge affects on the brain, one of which is to spur the production of more receptors for oxytocin, according to a 2008 issue of the journal Developmental Review.

The increased sensitivity caused by oxytocin has a powerful impact on the area of the brain controlling one’s emotions. Teens develop a feeling of self-consciousness and may truly believe that everyone is watching him or her. These feelings peek around age 15.

While this may make a teen seem self-centered (and in their defense, they do have a lot going on), the changes in the teen brain may also spur some of the more idealistic efforts tackled by young people throughout history.

"It is the first time they are seeing themselves in the world," Johnson said, meaning their greater autonomy has opened their eyes to what lies beyond their families and schools. They are asking themselves, she continued, for perhaps the first time: What kind of person do I want to be and what type of place do I want the world to be?

Until their brains develop enough to handle shades of grey, their answers to these questions can be quite one-sided, Feinstein said, but the parents' job is to help them explore the questions, rather than give them answers.

And there you have it. Teen’s brains are exploding with new data, confusing signals and dueling desires. It’s a tough time in one’s development- but rest assured, what you teach them by example and compassion as well as how you gingerly help guide them will last a life-time. Even when you do the best you can, there are no guarantees that they will turn out the way you’re hoping they will – they are after all- individuals with a will and a mind of their own. But now you know a little more about why your teen acts the way they do.

Story Source: Robin Nixon,

Daily Dose

Your Daughter's 1st Pelvic Exam

What to do when it's time for your daughter's 1st pelvis exam.I receive a lot of questions regarding when an adolescent girl should begin having a gynecologic exam.  I read an recent article in the September issue of Pediatrics that reviewed the indications for performing a pelvic exam on an adolescent and when it is appropriate to have a gynecology referral.

The AAP now recommends “the inclusion of the gynecologic examination in the pediatric setting” as the primary care pediatrician is often more familiar to the adolescent than a referral to a gynecologist. In my experience this tends to be the case as my adolescent patients seem to be “more comfortable” (if there is such a thing when discussing gynecology) seeing their own physician that they have developed a rapport with. It is much easier to discuss the “ins and outs” of a pelvic exam with a doctor that has watched you go through puberty and has hopefully educated you along the way about sexuality issues. As with many things in medicine, things change, and this article concludes that it is no longer necessary for most adolescents to undergo a routine pelvic exam.  The first Pap smear is now recommended to be performed at 21 years of age.   Furthermore, an internal exam is no longer required to begin an adolescent on oral contraceptive therapy.  This has just recently become the recommendation. Now that there are screening tests for sexually transmitted infections that can be done without a speculum exam, unless the patient is having symptoms, it is not necessary to perform an internal exam. There are times when an internal speculum exam may be necessary. Some of the indications for this include: abnormal vaginal bleeding, dysmenorrhea (menstrual cramps) which is unrelieved by treatment with non-steroidal medication such as ibuprofen or naprosyn, and persistent vaginal discharge or urinary symptoms in a sexually active adolescent. Of course pregnancy and suspected rape or sexual abuse would also require an internal pelvic examination. The article also discusses indications for a gynecology referral from a pediatrician who may sometimes require the expertise of a gynecologist. If an adolescent have a pelvic mass, a cervical abnormality, acute pelvic pain or the need for an intrauterine device for pregnancy prevention a referral may be necessary.  In this case most pediatricians have their “favorite” gynecologists to use as a referral source, as it is important to find a physician who enjoys adolescents and their special concerns and will take the needed time to explain the procedures that may be involved for further diagnosis or treatment. The article serves to re-emphasizes the special rapport between a pediatrician and an adolescent patient, and acknowledges that most medical gynecologic issues may be managed by the pediatrician in their office as a routine part of preventative care. Ask your pediatrician if they are comfortable addressing adolescent gynecologic issues in advance, so you will know how they will handle these issues that might crop up as your teenage daughter matures. That's your daily dose for today. We'll chat again tomorrow. Send your question or comment to Dr. Sue!

Your Teen

Good Mood is Contagious Among Teens


A lot has been written about depression in teens because it can have serious and sometimes fatal consequences. However, like all things, there’s another side to teen temperaments and it turns out that it’s quite contagious; the good mood.

While many researchers have wondered if depression spreads more easily among teenagers, a new study suggests that depression does not but good moods do and are helpful in combating depression.

Researchers looked at more than 2,000 American high school students to see how they influenced each other’s moods. They found that a positive mood seems to spread through groups of teens, but having depressed friends doesn't increase a teen's risk of depression.

In fact, having plenty of friends in a good mood can halve the chances that a teen will develop depression over six to 12 months. Having a lot of happy friends can also double the likelihood of recovering from depression over the same time period, the researchers found.

"We know social factors, for example living alone or having experienced abuse in childhood, influences whether someone becomes depressed. We also know that social support is important for recovery from depression, for example having people to talk to," study author Thomas House, a senior lecturer in applied mathematics at the University of Manchester in the U.K., said in a university news release.

"Our study is slightly different as it looks at the effect of being friends with people on whether you are likely to develop or recover from being depressed," he added.

House believes that teens who have a strong network of positive friendships might actually help protect against depression.

"This was a big effect that we have seen here. It could be that having a stronger social network is an effective way to treat depression. More work needs to be done but it may that we could significantly reduce the burden of depression through cheap, low-risk social interventions," House concluded.

Depression is serious and should never be taken lightly, some teens may be overwhelmed by the emotional and physical changes they are experiencing. This study suggests that adolescents that are around other adolescents who are happy most of the time seem to pick up on that feeling and it helps in lifting their spirits and changing their outlook.

Sources: Robert Preidt,




Daily Dose

Teens & Eating Habits

1.15 to read

During our summer vacation, which happened to be overseas, I began to notice a recurring theme. Teenagers from around the world often behave in a similar way.  That is, maybe it really is something in a teen’s “nature” that affects behavior and attitudes .

I saw many parents on family vacations sightseeing with tweens and teens in tow. While it certainly is hard to travel with little ones in strollers, or those a bit older who don’t really understand where they are, there are some things that are easier about little ones than teens.  (If you don’t have teens yet you are saying, “NO WAY”.)  

But what I often noticed about teens on vacation is that universal facial expression of “why am I here, when I would rather be with my friends?”.  In some cases it wasn’t just the facial expressions either. While standing in lines to get into a museum or sitting at closely spaced tables over a meal I often heard teenagers complaining to their parents. “I don’t want to go to another museum, church or monument’, or “how many more days until we go home?”.   I didn’t only hear English either, there were teens from other countries who were also complaining in their own language or dialect.  The parent’s also had that look of “why did we spend all of this hard earned vacation time and money to have our children act like this?” 

I also saw many a teen spending a lot of line standing or restaurant sitting with their faces glued to their smartphones. Again, they all seemed to have them.  They were often so busy not paying attention to the line moving or the guide talking that their parents literally had to take the phones away - again more universal facial expressions!

Food choices were another area of teen angst.  While sitting in one restaurant quite close to a a father and his two teen daughters we noticed they seemed to be having a heated discussion in Dutch.  They were all looking at the menu and the father looked exasperated.  When the waiter arrived, the father spoke in English and told the waiter that his daughters wanted plain meat, no sauces, and only the french fries, and not the salads or vegetables that came with the meal.  The waiter replied in both French and English (I guess making sure he covered all bases) that there were several options for salad dressing, sauces and vegetables.  The father replied again, NO they will not eat it. I had to laugh, it made me remember those days of ordering a hamburger for my boys (no matter where we were) when I would say, “just meat and bread!”.

Teens....has to be hormones in the blood, right? Just saying...




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