Stories about: Young Parents Program

From patient to employee: Brain tumor survivor gives back

  • PHOTOS: SEBASTIAN STANKIEWICZ/BOSTON CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL

People often ask me why I work at Boston Children’s Hospital. How can I walk through the halls of the place where I had emergency surgery at 16 years old for a deadly brain tumor? I honestly don’t know how I couldn’t. I believe in giving back and celebrating the people who support you, as your family does, through the most difficult times of your life. After years of treatment at Boston Children’s, that’s what my doctors, nurses, psychologists and support staff have done for me. Now, they’re like my family.

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Fact or fiction: Today’s teenagers are more wild than ever

For decades, teenagers have gotten a pretty bad rap from the generations that came before them. The clothes, hairstyles and music may change, but the age-old notion of teenagers being wilder than ever before predates anyone old enough to have the thought. Complaining about wayward teens may be a parental cliché, but that’s only because it’s true, right?

Not so fast parents: According to a new study at the University of Michigan, today’s kids are actually a little more conservative than many of you were at their age.

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Teen moms on TV: The perfect opportunity to talk with your kids?

How is your teenager interpreting media messages about teenage pregnancy?

Doctors, parents and teenagers have wildly different views on TV shows that follow—many say glorify—pregnant teenagers and teenage parents. And it has many parents wondering: Can parents use these shows as opportunities to talk with their children about the consequences of sex?

According to the recent government report “America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, 2011,” teen pregnancy rates have actually dropped for a second consecutive year (20.1 births per 1,000 girls ages 15 to 17 in 2009 from 21.7 per 1,000 in 2008). It may or may not have to do with the popular MTV series “Teen Mom,” which started airing around the same time, and David Bickham, PhD, and research scientist at Children’s Hospital Boston’s Center on Media and Child Health suggests that the show could serve as a platform for conversation between parents and teens. “The benefit of watching this kind of show with your child is that you can really shape the experience by being there and talking about what you’re all watching,” he says.

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Teenage pregnancy rates hit record low

As any parent will tell you, raising a teenager can be tough these days. Just look at the headlines: Teen drug and alcohol use is up, the number of teenagers in abusive relationships is staggering and all while high school graduation rates continue to fall. It can be a lot for parents and kids to deal with, but thankfully there is some good news out there. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) just released a report showing teen pregnancy has dropped significantly in the past decade– down 37 percent from 1991– the lowest rates on record since the Center started collecting pregnancy data 70 years ago. It’s a step in the right direction, but Sonia Chalfin, RN, PNP of Children’s Hospital Boston’s Young Parents Program (YPP), says there’s still much work to be done to educate young people about the possible repercussions of sex because approximately 1,100 girls between the ages of 15-19 become mothers every day in this country.

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