Being the parent of a teenager requires a lot of growing up, not just from them, but from you! We can easily find ourselves stuck in that old-fashioned parental mode where we think of our children as little babies that can’t do much for themselves. When they are teenagers, they have a right to go and explore and do (almost) what they want, and it’s at this point that you have to hope you’ve done a good job to give them a moral compass. Teenagers are at risk of a number of health concerns. It’s important that you are ready to deal with these, so let’s show you the most common ones.
With 1.1 billion teenagers being at risk for developing hearing impairment, it is essential for you to teach them the importance of good hearing hygiene. There are audiology clinics like the Northern Hearing Health Centre that can test for hearing issues, but you need to look at the lifestyle factors that can cause your team to have hearing problems.
For example, if they wear earbuds and listen to music too loud in volume, this can contribute to hearing issues later in life. The problem with hearing issues in teenagers is that it’s hard to diagnose them because they won’t become apparent until, at the earliest, their mid to late 20s. This is why hearing hygiene is something we need to teach as soon as possible.
Sexually Transmitted Infections
Approximately half of all new STIs every year are from teens and it’s essential to teach our children healthy sexual practices, especially when it comes to understanding teen pregnancy. It’s not just about making sure that the school is teaching them, but we’ve got to have a more open and honest discussion about it.
Yes, your teenager may cringe at you talking about this, but it’s important to find ways to arm them with all of the information. If they don’t listen to you, you may want to point them towards information that they can learn about it themselves. It may also be beneficial to inform them about the worst-case scenarios, for example, a STD like chlamydia, if left dormant, can cause infertility.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death among 13 to 19-year-old males and females in the USA and we must make sure that our teenager is not just a safe driver, but a safe passenger. Peer pressure rides high amongst teenagers, and this is why we have to do what we can as soon as possible to let them be comfortable in their own decision-making rather than letting someone else make decisions for them.
It can be so easy for teenagers to get into a friend’s car just after the friend has passed their driving test, but as the risk of accidents just after passing their test is at its highest, ensuring your child has that moral compass and emotional strength to say “no” is critical.
Similar to peer pressure to get into a vehicle, substance abuse, whether it’s cigarettes, drugs, prescription drugs, or alcohol can be the result of friends being too forceful. It’s also important that we recognize that prescription drugs are more open to abuse than ever, especially ADHD medications.
Discussing with your kids the dangers of substance abuse before they reach their teen years is critical. It can be a tough subject to talk about, especially if alcohol abuse is something close to home, but this is why, rather than papering over the cracks, it’s far better to be open and honest in discussing it.
Mental Health Concerns
With teen suicide rates steadily increasing over the years since 2009, this has sparked a major discussion in relation to mental health. It’s a relatively new conversation parents are having with their children because of a variety of factors. Predominantly, social media can be the culprit here arising from peer pressure, bullying, and other common matters.
Ensuring that you have an open dialogue with your child about mental health concerns may be at odds with how you were raised, but it’s important for you to recognize that mental health concerns are commonplace at any age. Ensuring you set the example by looking after your health will make a significant impact on your child. A lot of families feel they cannot talk about mental health concerns or still feel the need to repress their emotions. If we have learned anything, especially since the pandemic, it’s that discussing any form of isolation or emotional concerns will do a lot to open up the debate. Mental health concerns cover many levels. If your child does not feel they can talk to you, but they are exhibiting signs of withdrawal or isolation, it is critical to be ready to open the door of discussion.