12-18 years: Teen Archives - Nemours Blog

12-18 years: Teen

Melatonin: 5 Safety Tips for Kids and Teens

Melatonin: 5 Safety Tips for Kids and Teens

We all know that terrible feeling of not being able to sleep and drudging through the next day in a fog. If your child is having trouble sleeping, of course you want to help. You have probably heard of using melatonin for sleep problems. Its use has skyrocketed in the past few years. Melatonin is a hormone (or chemical messenger) made by the brain. It helps us fall asleep. Melatonin is also made as a dietary supplement and can be bought in the U.S. without a prescription. But is melatonin safe for kids and teens? Does it work? If melatonin is used with guidance from a health care provider, it is probably safe for short-term use in kids over 5 years. It can help kids and teens get some rest while they work through certain types of sleep problems. But it is still being studied so we don’t know for sure what […]

Let's Rethink How We Talk to Teens about Their Weight

Let’s Rethink How We Talk to Teens about Their Weight

Perhaps we need to rethink how we talk to our teenagers who have a weight issue. At the Nemours Eating Disorders Evaluation and Management Program, we see teenagers who pinpoint the onset of their eating disorder to comments made by well-intentioned doctors, coaches, or health teachers.

Period Poverty and Top Myths about Periods

Period Poverty & Top Myths about Periods

For some individuals, their period is nothing more than a slight inconvenience. However, this is not the reality for everyone. A study by Thinx and the nonprofit Period found that 1 in 5 teens have struggled to afford period products, and more than 4 in 5 teens have missed class or know someone who has had to miss class because they did not have any period products. What is Period Poverty? Period poverty refers to a lack of access to period products, as well as a lack of education surrounding periods. People associate period poverty with poor countries, but even in the United States millions of people suffer due to period poverty. In the U.S., period products aren’t covered by national food stamp programs, and many states still tax them. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated this issue—rates of poverty skyrocketed, making it a struggle to put food on the table, […]

Keep Your Kids Safe From TikTok "Challenges"

Keep Your Kids Safe From TikTok “Challenges”

Rachel Simon, third-year pediatric resident at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, also contributed to this article. Teens’ use of TikTok, the social media app that allows users to watch, create, and share 15- to 30-second videos recorded on cellphones, has escalated during the pandemic. TikTok is now the second most popular downloaded app, after only Instagram. If you ask teenagers what they like to do online, chances are it’s TikTok. Almost half of TikTok users are between ages 16 and 24, and 90% of users engage with the app every day. The content varies widely and ranges from music, dance, exercise, and tutorial videos to humor and parodies. TikTok can get people moving, educated, and laughing. “It’s all good!” however, does not apply to all of TikTok. Here are just a few of TikTok’s dangerous “challenges”: “The Benadryl Challenge” involves individuals taking high doses of diphenhydramine, an over-the-counter allergy […]

Should You Talk to Teens About weight Gain?

Should You Talk to Teens About Weight Gain?

America, we have a problem. One in five American children and adolescents are obese. Obesity is highest among adolescents 12-19 years-old compared to younger children. How do you know if your teenager is obese? Your teen’s Primary Care Provider (PCP) measures Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters – yay for BMI calculators! Teenagers’ BMIs are expressed as percentiles: Underweight: below the 5th Healthy: between the 5th and 85th Overweight: above the 85th Obese: above the 95th Why do parents need to worry? Because facts are facts: obese children are more likely to become obese adults, and obesity increases the risk of problems including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Also, we live in a society where weight bias and discrimination, or “ fat shaming,” is rampant.  Fat shaming triggers physical and emotional and physiological changes and is linked to […]

COVID-19: Are teens super-spreaders?

COVID-19: Are teens super-spreaders?

SARS COV2 PCR: DETECTED! This is a lab result no one wants to get. If teens test positive for COVID-19, whatever semblance of normality they may have, such as in-person school or after-school sports, vanishes instantly. For typical teenagers, “temporary” is not in their mindset. Their adolescent brains are still developing and they may still believe that what happens today will last forever. Teens may feel that being forced to quarantine is punishment. Teens may not recognize that they have COVID-19 since symptoms may be mild or absent. If they do have symptoms, they may not tell anyone as they do not want to face the consequences of a positive test. Some teens may choose not to reveal their contacts; contact tracing could result in family, coaches, teachers, and peers also requiring testing and possible quarantining. In the November issue of Pediatric News, Margaret Thew, DNP, FNP-BC stated that some […]

COVID quarantine: an emotional tipping point for teens

COVID-19 Quarantine: an Emotional Tipping Point for Teens

Fall is usually a busy and fun time of year for our teens. Back-to-school shopping, high school football, track meets, student government elections, band, orchestra, choir, drama, debate club, homecoming, Halloween, haunted houses … #normallifewemissyou. But teens are actually missing a lot more. They’re missing opportunities to work on the critical tasks that help them mature emotionally: Acceptance of one’s body image (height, weight, and sexual development); they can’t master this task if they have more free time to become obsessed with their bodies and convinced that there’s a problem. Achieving independence from their parents; they can’t master this task if they’re quarantined together. Growing through peer interactions; they can’t master this task if they’re not socializing in groups. Establishing their identities, including sexual identities; they can’t master this task six feet apart. What happens when they don’t master these tasks? Many problems. A few examples: At 3 p.m., a […]

Talking to Kids About Teen Dating Violence, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Talking to Kids About Teen Dating Violence

Teen Dating Violence, also known as TDV, is a type of intimate partner violence that happens between two teens in a close relationship. But TDV doesn’t just affect teenagers, though; it impacts families, teachers, friends and whole communities. That’s why it’s essential that parents, educators and health professionals talk to young people about the risks and consequences of the issue. Teen Dating Violence Statistics Teen Dating Violence is probably more common than you think. It affects millions of teens in the U.S. each year. Data from CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey and the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey provide some alarming statistics: Youth age 12 to 19 experience the highest rates of rape and sexual assault. Nearly 1 in 11 female and approximately 1 in 15 male high school students have experienced physical dating violence in the last year. About 1 in 9 female and 1 in 36 […]

Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Your Teen Boys, Powered by Nemours Children's Health System

Body Dysmorphic Disorder and Your Teen Boys

For several decades, much of the focus on body image disorders has focused on females. In American society, the feminine ideal is to appear thin. Males, however, are encouraged to be muscular. Lately, we are witnessing a shift in how males perceive their bodies. Boys Feel the Pressure Too Many of today’s young males want a strong body; specifically, they want more muscles. With action figures such as Batman, Captain America, and Superman to magazine covers boasting “Double your muscle!” and “Bigger arms now!” it’s no wonder that teens view being chiseled and ripped as the ideal male body image. It’s one thing to play with an action figure or peruse a magazine, but it’s quite another to think obsessively about becoming muscle-bound and to diet and exercise compulsively to look this way. Sound like obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)? Yes. Sound like an eating disorder? Yes. What Is Muscle Dysmorphic […]

Teens and Distracted Driving

Teens and Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of car accidents in teenagers and young drivers. According to NHTSA, each day in the United States, approximately nine people are killed and more than 1,000 injured in crashes that are reported to involve a distracted driver. In 2017, 3,166 people were killed in a crash involving a distracted driver. These statistics are frightening. Parents should talk to the young drivers in their family about distracted driving and methods to avoid tragedy. Taking Your Mind Off the Road Most of us are guilty of distracted driving at one time or another. It happens maybe more than we’d like to admit — we drive while letting another activity take our attention away from focusing on the road. When your brain is thinking about anything other than what is happening on the road, it makes it difficult to react during a potential crash. This […]

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