Stories about: teenagers

Teens and discipline: Too old for time-out

Mother disciplines teen boy on couch

When we think of discipline, we tend to think of young children. We tend to think about tantrums, about teaching them to be polite and tell the truth and not fight with their siblings and other children. We don’t think as much about teens.

But teens need discipline too, just as much. In some ways, they need it more: not only do they need to learn how to behave responsibly as adults, but the stakes are higher. It’s one thing when you fall off a jungle gym, and quite another when you drink and drive.

The kind of discipline teens need is similar to the discipline you’ve (hopefully) used since they were small, but needs to take into account that they are on the cusp of independence. Here are four tips for disciplining teens:

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Sleep deprivation in teens: risky business?

Like toothpaste and orange juice, teenagers and 6 a.m. usually make for a bad morning combination. Between the threats of missed buses to the walking dead shuffle from the bedroom to the bathroom, mornings can seem like a nightmare for many households with teens. But with so many sleep-deprived teenagers staying awake until all hours of the night, this dreaded morning ritual comes as no surprise to most parents.

If your teenager is constantly staying up too late and is hard to mobilize in the morning, at least you’re not alone. A new study from the Centers for Disease Control indicates that two third of American teens aren’t getting enough sleep. This may not surprise many parents, but the study’s real take home message is that researchers are now linking sleep deprivation to something far more troubling than morning crankiness: Teens who get less than eight hours of sleep a night may be more likely to drink, use drugs, indulge in inappropriate sexual behavior, be depressed and lead an unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle.

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When care requires more than simple answers

When teenagers stonewall adults, there can be many issues leading to the behavior

By Sarah Teasdale, MD, EdM pediatric hospitalist at Children’s Hospital Boston

It was near midnight about a year ago when I noticed a gaunt young man in his early twenties walking toward me in the Emergency Department. It was a young man who, about a decade earlier, had threatened to kill me.

For nearly ten years prior to becoming a physician I was a high school teacher. That particular July, I was teaching English in summer school for students who had failed the class during the regular school year. It was a group of 15 surly teenagers ages 14 to 19, beaten down by a system in which they could not—or chose not—to succeed.

The young man—I’ll call him Andre—was my student that summer. He was a gangly, thin 15-year-old who often wore the same ill-fitting clothes day after day, rarely made eye contact and showed a level of fatigue in the early morning that was extreme, even for a teenager. Whenever I tried to talk to him, he would simply say he was “a’right.” He meant: Stop asking.

So I stopped asking. In doing so, I lost a chance to help him.

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Love can drive you nuts: Teens, dating and food allergies

Written by Joshua Feblowitz, a Thriving contributor who has lived with severe food allergies his whole life.

image: flikr/Amarand Agasi

As food-allergic children reach their teens, they face many new challenges in allergy management, including a first date and even a first kiss, both of which hold hidden dangers. For parents, these romantic milestones can be especially stressful because they happen outside of their watchful, protective view.

Unfortunately for food-allergic teens, dating frequently involves dining out and all the potential allergens that come with it. In addition, research and personal anecdote has shown that kissing can sometimes cause a cross-contact reaction. On top of these dangers, teens are generally known to take more risks when it comes to their allergies or feel self-conscious about them. As a result they may resist previously established rules around exposure, or be shy explaining their dietary needs, which can lead to trouble.

So, what’s a worried parent to do? The simple truth is, as teens start dating (and being more socially independent in general), they must also start learning how to manage food allergies on their own. Here are a few things you can do as a parent to help navigate this transition safely, smoothly and with minimal conflict:

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