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Adolescent Health - For Parents

  • Supporting your adolescent - advice for parents

    The following tips provide some general advice for the overall well being of your growing child/children. While not specific to OB/GYN related care; these straightforward steps can help to promote open communication, support and love with your adolescent(s).

    1. Answer questions openly and honestly.
    2. Start talking about puberty, menstruation and your philosophy about sex and contraception.
    3. Be practical about how to handle situations like school and periods, breast development and your child’s appearance.
    4. Be a positive role model and practice what you preach. Do not engage in any illegal, unhealthy, or dangerous drug use practices.
    5. Be tolerant of a child's individuality. Accept a child for her/his talents and personality. Encourage individual expression and creativity.
    6. Model and encourage good health practices: serve balanced and nutritious meals at regular times. Set aside time for fun family activities.
    7. Provide love, support and encouragement to the child/children in your life. Let them know that they should come to a parent to discuss feelings of being bullied or abused.
    8. Help your child deal with peer pressure. Practice ways for her/him to refuse drugs in ways that fit your child's personality.
    9. Be sure children have easy access to a wide range of appealing, drug-free, alternative activities as well as safe, monitored areas where they can gather; work with others in your community -- clubs, schools, churches, and neighborhood groups -- to sponsor and promote safe, healthy activities.
    10. Discuss the media’s acceptance and use of marijuana and drug images that your child may see in movies and on TV, and hear on CD's and the radio. Ask their thoughts on these messages. Do they understand their purpose? Do they recognize that these messages do not reveal the harmful effects of these products?
    11. Be aware of the connection between marijuana and other risky behaviors. Car crashes, sexually transmitted infectionsHIV/AIDS, and injuries all have been linked to marijuana use.
    12. Help children and adolescents learn the health, safety, and legal consequences of using marijuana and other drugs. Be sure they understand that marijuana can be as dangerous as other illegal drugs.
    13. Help your children and adolescents learn and understand the health, safety and legal consequences of alcohol.
    14.  Help your children and adolescents understand the risks of smoking.
    15. Help your adolescents understand the risks of sex and the incidence of pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases (STIs) and AIDs.
  • When to seek help for your child:
    • Marked decline in school performance
    • Inability to cope with problems and daily activities
    • Marked changes in sleeping and/or eating habits
    • Extreme difficulties in concentrating that get in the way of activities at school or home
    • Sexual acting out
    • Depression shown by sustained, prolonged negative mood and attitude, that often is accompanied by poor appetite, difficulty sleeping or thoughts of death
    • Severe mood swings
    • Strong worries or anxieties that get in the way of daily life
    • Repeated use of alcohol and/or drugs
    • Intense fear of becoming obese with no relationship to actual body weight; excessive dieting, throwing up or using laxatives to loose weight
    • Persistent nightmares
    • Threats of self-harm or harm to others
    • Self-injury or self destructive behavior
    • Frequent outbursts of anger, aggression
    • Repeated threats to run away
    • Aggressive or non-aggressive consistent violation of rights of others; opposition to authority, truancy, thefts, or vandalism
    • Strange thoughts, beliefs, feelings, or unusual behaviors
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