Northwest Spokane Pediatrics
What should I expect from my older teen?
- Behaviors vary widely. Many teenagers are more interested in friends than their parents.
- Some teenagers may go through what appears to be depression. This often is more like "the blues." This can be precipitated by life events like the loss of a boy/girlfriend, bad grades, stress from daily activities. A "red flag" to watch for is if this depressed mood seems to interfere with their daily activities for more than a few weeks or discussion about suicidal or homicidal thoughts, among others. If you ever have concerns about depression in your teenager we reccommend that you come in for a behavioral or mood assessment type visit. We book extra time to discuss emotional issues.
- Try to stay engaged with your late teenager. Many feel this is good time to give them "lots of rope." But the reality is (to stay with that metaphor) they often hang themselves with that rope. The reality is parents should continue to expect high standards from their teenager. Having them engaged in something that reinforces individual reaponsibility is important.
- Activities that reinforce responsibility can include extracurricular activities such as school sports or clubs, and after school employment.
- Driving is not a right of passage. We reccommend that teenagers prove they are responsible enough to drive. Ways to tell include acceptable grades in school. Having a job to pay for their insurance, gas etc.
Physical skills vary widely. The important thing is to find some activity that the teenager can get interested in and encourage them to do so. Being an expert runner or football player should not be the goal of the teenager, just getting out and doing something is the important thing.
Teenagers need to be eating something for breakfast every day and maintain a balanced diet—not just eating pizza and fast food. They also need to get 1300-1500mg of calcium daily (especially competitive athletes). A glass of milk is only 300mg. So, talk to your doctor about how to meet this requirement.
Television and Electronic Games
Television and electronic games should be limited to less than two hours per day. The games should be at an age appropriate level. Violence exposures should be avoided.
- Pre college immunizations
- Remember to encourage helmet use when on things with wheels exceot for when in a car.
- Talk about the risks of drug and alcohol use.
- School safety and bulling can be a problem. Be an active parent in thier lives including school.
- Talk to your teen children about their relationships with friends and significant others. This is a great opportunity to talk with them about sex and how to protect their bodies.
- Child is doing poorly at subjects they had excelled in historically.
- Child is isolated, ostracized from normal peer groups, or just won’t get out of bed.
- Appetite decreases.
- Unexpected weight loss.
- Suicidal or homocidal thoughts.