Teen Health

Ensuring your teen's physical, mental and sexual health

Isn't it funny - as children grow into teenagers, they seem to reach out for a parent's help less and less. Yet those difficult teenage years are a time when monitoring your child's health becomes even more important, as the issues can become increasingly serious.

The teen years are difficult for all, but for some, the growing pains are particularly painful. From dealing with acne to dealing with depression, talking about sex to developing a self-image, many teens get lost along the way - and not surprisingly, so do many parents.

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Although your child may not always be forthcoming with their problems, being aware of the warning signs can help you stay on top of any situation that may arise. If you're not quite sure what to look for, we can help. Our articles on teen health issues like eating disorders, addiction and sexual health are full of advice from people who know what they're talking about - and who realize the importance of sharing it.

Communication is key when it comes to your teen. Letting your child know that you are always there for them and that they can come to you with anything is the best way to keep them safe and healthy.

Major issues in teen development

It's not easy being a teen. Aside from the usual hassles of puberty, sexual development, braces, acne and growth spurts, which can be difficult enough to handle, some teens face more life-threatening issues, such as teen depression, bipolar disorder and eating disorders (anorexia and bulimia). These issues further complicate the trials and tribulations of an already-fraught period of development, and the "normal" aspects of puberty can make these more serious illnesses that much harder to handle.

To make matters worse, the teenage years are generally a time for establishing boundaries and asserting one's individuality and independence. Couple that with the embarrassment and even shame that most teens—and even parents—feel around these issues, and it's no wonder that so many teens suffer in silence.

You don't have to let your teen be one of them. Open up a dialogue with your teenager before the teen years even start, and make sure your child has the information he or she needs to understand and negotiate the physical, mental and emotional changes of puberty. Listen carefully to your teen even when he or she isn't talking directly to you. Don't take comments about suicide, feelings of worthlessness or negative body image as offhand remarks—take them as potential signs of larger problems. And, of course, don't be caught unawares. Educate yourself about the major issues facing today's teens.

Your son or daughter is right about one thing: things have changed since you were a kid. Let Kidica help you bridge the generation gap with informative articles on all the topics your teen is likely to come up against as he or she matures—physically, mentally, emotionally and sexually.