Wow! Your tiny baby is now a full-grown teenager, somewhere between 13 and 18. What a time of absolute anxiety, excitement, and learning for parents and kids alike! So many changes, so little time. At the end of this period, your child will be considered an adult. They are taking all the lessons learned and exercising their independence. This is how they learn what works and what doesn’t work, its adulthood with training wheels and your hand on the seat.
Puberty and Growing Up
Teenagers are still growing. In fact, they are growing a lot. There is tremendous physical, emotional and intellectual development that happens during these years. It is a complex time as your teen goes from being a child to an adult. Your support and role modeling will go a long way to help him thrive.
Sleeping like a baby
Yes, teenagers sleep like babies. Getting at least 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep helps your teen do his best in school and at home. This means no electronics in the bedroom, relaxing activities for the hour before bed, and consistent wake up time on weekends. Early to bed, early to rise, and give them an extra 15-20 minute head start in the morning until they fully grasp time management.
As with younger children, teenagers grow and develop best when their emotional health needs are identified and addressed. This is why Dr. Moemeka does specific screening for depression, suicide and emotional challenges.
Your teen will get her meningitis vaccines during this period. If not already completed, she will be protected from certain cancers by getting the HPV vaccine.
Well Adolescent Visits
Teenagers have a health maintenance visit each year where Dr. Moemeka speaks with them alone about overall wellness. For everyone’s comfort and safety, patients are always examined in the presence of an available chaperone of their choice, either a caregiver or a care team member.
Social media safety is important for teenagers. Not only the content, but the amount of time spent being exposed to toxic media and messages can be harmful to his emotional and mental health. Modeling healthy use of social media and electronic devices will help.
Studies continue to show that more than half of teens make their choices based on parent and caregiver influence. These choice include some of the most important ones they will make: substance use, tobacco use, safe driving, healthy dating relationships, and bullying prevention. Model the behavior you want to see in your teen. Talk to him about your preferences and beliefs. Even if he has his earbuds half in, studies show he’s listening.
Pre-adulthood and the transition
Ready to take your hand off the seat? Yes, it’s time. Your child is now 18 and an adult. The training wheels are still on, probably until she is about 25. But she can pedal and glide off beyond your sight. Mark9 Pediatrics works with families starting at age 16 to plan for a teen’s transition to adult life. The first step is moving to a family medicine or internal medicine doctor before age 19. Dr. Moemeka will speak with her about self-care and reproductive health. You will be connected with excellent doctors in the area who will best align with your teen’s health and wellness goals.