Raising teenagers can seem like sailing uncharted waters, but this stage is ultimately about preparing them for adulthood. You can start implementing many of these teen health and wellness tips, or at least modified versions of them, when children are younger to start laying the groundwork. But for this age group especially, it’s important for them to understand that health and wellness is multifaceted and extends beyond physical health.

Physical Health

  • No matter the age, prevention and early detection are key when it comes to health. And one of the best ways to do this is with an annual physical exam. Empower your teen to take control of his or her own health by having them call to schedule the appointment. This also sets them up for future success as an adult.
  • Teens generally require fewer vaccinations than younger children, but that makes it no less important to keep up with recommended immunizations. This includes getting the flu shot every year. Also talk to your teen’s doctor about the HPV vaccine which can protect both boys and girls from certain types of cancers including cervical cancer.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Children and teenagers with obesity are more likely to have obesity as an adult. They are also at higher risk for other chronic illnesses, depression, and bullying. Help your teen maintain a healthy weight through eating a balanced diet and engaging in regular physical activity.
  • Help your teen choose healthy foods and drinks by teaching them how to interpret food labels and the importance of proper nutrition.
  • Dating typically begins around puberty, and the risks that come with it include domestic violence, stalking, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and pregnancy. Have regular conversations with your teen about these topics so they are not taboo and they feel comfortable coming to you with any questions or concerns.

Mental and Emotional Health

  • Stress can’t be avoided, so teenagers need to learn how to manage it. Help your teen explore various ways to help stay calm and function in stressful situations, such as breathing techniques or meditation.
  • Adolescence can bring with it serious emotional and mental health challenges, such as the risk of depression, body dysmorphia, anxiety, eating disorders, and even suicide. These problems can be caused by stress, peer pressure, chemical changes in the brain, and even the media. Offer guidance and positive reinforcement necessary to overcome mental and emotional issues and remind them there is no shame in seeking additional help such as support groups or counseling services.

Behavioral Health

Staying safe is an important part of staying healthy and a big part of safety is behavior. There are a number of common threats that face most, if not all, teens. These threats involve the Internet, cars, and substances such as drugs and alcohol.

  • Many teens need to be reminded that a platform’s privacy settings do not make things actually “private” and that images, thoughts, and behaviors teens share online will instantly become a part of their digital footprint indefinitely.
  • Teens also need to know that once content is shared with others, they will not be able to delete or remove it completely and includes texting of inappropriate pictures.
  • Set clear guidelines and expectations for teen drivers such as limitations on the number of passengers and cell phone use.

Social Health

Research shows that the friendships we make in our teen years are just as essential for our well-being as the social connections we make late in life.

  • Encourage your teen to develop a good balance between school, work, and social life.
  • Be sure they understand what a healthy relationship looks like, whether it’s romantic relationship or a friendship, and offer guidance on how to manage toxic relationships.

Lastly, one of the most important tips for teen health and wellness–a good night’s sleep. Most teens need between 9 and 9 ½ hours of sleep every night. Many average only 7 hours. Lack of sleep or poor quality sleep can affect every area of your teen’s health.

And above all, keep lines of communication open and let them know you’re there if they have questions or concerns.

With so many changes taking place physically, socially and emotionally, The Carithers Pediatric Group is privileged to walk with you through the years of adolescence in an effort to promote maturity and independence and to help make the transition to adulthood a healthy process.

The providers at The Carithers Pediatric Group also provide management of teen-related problems including GYN issues, school performance problems/ ADD/ ADHD, acne, mood disorders and orthopedic concerns.

To schedule an appointment, call our Riverside office at (904) 387-6200 or our Southside office at (904) 997-0023.