The teen years are some of the most interesting, exciting, and challenging years of a person’s life. They are discovering who they are, questioning family values, and finding their passions. These years are like a roller coaster, with steep climbs and sudden drops, making parents and guardians feel like they are being taken along for the ride. Here are some common health issues to watch out for in your teen.
Underage drinking is considered a serious health crisis in the U.S. In 2019, 25 percent of 14-15-year-old teens had experimented with alcohol. Of serious concern is the tendency for teens to binge drink. Drinking leads to injury, impaired judgment, long-term cognitive problems, and death. It also increases the risk of your child being the victim or instigator of physical or sexual assault. It is important to do all you can to help your teen understand the risks of underage drinking.
Set clear rules, keep open communication with them, and be a positive role model. Also, keep your alcohol under lock and key, and make sure there is appropriate parental supervision at all parties and events.
Many teens will experience some form of mental health concern. The most common mental disorders during the teen years are anxiety disorders, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), eating disorders, and depression. Your teen’s brain is going through rapid development at this stage of life, which makes it more vulnerable to mental health issues.
If you suspect your child is battling a mental disorder, get them help as soon as possible. While medication comes with side effects, it can be an effective way to treat depression. Cognitive behavioral therapy can also help. You can also encourage them to get enough sleep, exercise, and proper nutrition.
Accidents are a serious concern for young people. They are the leading cause of disability and even death in teens. The most common debilitating and fatal accidents involve road use and drowning. Make sure your teens know how to swim and teach them how to stay safe on the road.
Your teens might seem ready for independence in a lot of ways, and they are probably pushing for it. However, they still need you to guide and protect them throughout adolescence. Keep the doors of communication open with them so that they will listen as you teach. And remember, setting reasonable guidelines for them is more important now than ever.
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