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Go Ask Mom

Duke Medicine: How to talk to your teens about health

Posted November 21, 2011

How can you encourage your teen to begin to take responsibility for his health? Dr. Richard Chung, director of Duke’s adolescent medicine program, offers advice.

This important aspect of adolescent development is sometimes overlooked by parents. As a result, many older teens and even young adults are not well equipped to effectively advocate for their health or seek care.

This is often an issue when young people struggle to transition from pediatric to adult care. It is helpful to establish the standard of caring for one’s body, even before adolescence. Gradually let the adolescent assume more responsibilities related to his or her health.

If a teen takes medications, transition responsibility for taking that medication to the teen over time.

Modeling by the teen’s parents also has a powerful influence. If parents have difficulty caring for their own health effectively, the adolescent may follow suit. On the other hand, positive efforts by a parent can set an important example.

Dr. Chung offers more tips on how to talk to teens about sexuality, how to encourage them to be more physically active and how to know if their moodiness is reason to be concerned on the full post at Duke Medicine is Go Ask Mom's sponsor and offers medical information and advice every Tuesday.


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