Helping Teens Embrace Self-Care
Before teens leave home, parents need to teach them to make their own health care
decisions. One way is to provide information and involve them in their own self-care
from an early age.
It is important to remember that adolescents' ability to cope with increasing responsibility
is often enhanced by the parents' willingness to support them as they face new challenges.
By involving teens as full participants in their self-care, they're more likely to
choose healthy behaviors throughout their lives.
Helping your teen
You can help your adolescents move toward independence in making health care decisions
by being a good role model. Take all prescription and over-the-counter medications
as directed, follow your health care provider's instructions, eat nutritious food,
and exercise regularly.
Don't smoke, abuse alcohol, or take illegal drugs. Your teen will take away a powerful
message that these activities jeopardize health and well-being.
Encourage your teen to think independently and express his or her own thoughts. This
will give your adolescent a healthy sense of self and a greater ability to resist
peer pressure. Make sure your teen has all the information he or she needs to make
informed, responsible decisions about reproductive health, including the meaning of
Work with your teen's health care provider to help your teen make age-appropriate
decisions regarding treatment.
The teen years are a good time to foster an independent relationship between your
children and their health care providers. Parents can make sure their teen has time
at each appointment to talk to their health care provider alone. This will prepare
them for relating to medical professionals independently as adults.
If you have a teen with a chronic illness, such as diabetes or asthma, help him or
her learn as much as possible about managing the condition and treatment options.
Knowledge is empowering. It can help your youngster feel more in control. It is critical
for parents to help their children accept appropriate responsibility for caring for
themselves. Letting them master day-to-day self-care can instill self-confidence that
can prepare them for adult life.