The teen years are usually from thirteen to eighteen years old. During this time, the desire for more independence is strong. Teenagers want to make their own decisions but aren’t always prepared. It is an important time for honest and open communication. It may seem challenging, but as much as teens resist, they still need a parent’s love and guidance.
Q. Should my teenager still see a pediatrician?
A. Yes. Most pediatricians are well equipped to take care of teenagers. They have vast knowledge about the medical, hormonal, and emotional changes teens face as they move from adolescence and into adulthood. In many cases, they also benefit from knowing your teen since very early childhood and monitoring their development over many years. Your teen may also feel more comfortable seeing someone they have known a long time and trust.
Q. What effects does alcohol have on my teen's health?
A. Too much drinking, whether beer, wine, or mixed drinks, can result in alcohol poisoning when a large amount of alcohol is consumed over a short period. And drinking too many alcoholic beverages too quickly--as teens sometimes do at parties--can lead to problems with breathing, heart rate, and the gag reflex. Binge drinking can also lead to a coma and, even worse, death. Driving while intoxicated is another major concern. It's always prudent to speak to your teenager about drinking consciously and in moderation to avoid any adverse impact on their health.
Q. My son's high school friends have started vaping. What do I need to know what should I tell him?
A. Vaping is the inhaling and exhaling of vapors emitted from devices that can look like a cigarette, a pen, or a USB stick, that produce an aerosol containing nicotine, flavoring, and other chemicals that are harmful and addictive. Regular use can cause lung injuries and compromise brain development, particularly during the preteen and teenage years. Legally, the sale of e-cigarettes and similar devices to people under the age of twenty-one is prohibited, but that doesn't prevent kids from obtaining them. You should speak to your son about the adverse side effects of vaping and discourage it.
Q. How do I help my daughter, who is the victim of cyberbullying?
A. Cyberbullying is a form of bullying/harassment specifically done online. It is becoming an increasingly concerning problem for teens today. As a parent, try to maintain open communication with your teen. Let them know you are aware of the dangers of being online and on social media. Familiarize yourself with what sites they are using. Discuss if there has been any upsetting communication your teen has received. Speak to your pediatrician for mental health guidance if you believe cyberbullying is affecting your teen's mental health. And don't be afraid to alert the school and your teen's guidance counselor.