Parenting Teens: What to Ask the Pediatrician
I got an email from Dr. Trachtenberg’s publicist with this information. At first I was skeptical … what are they sending me?! But then I read it very carefully and it’s great information. So, thank you Dr. Trachtenberg!
1. Prioritize Healthy Skin – Help Get Acne Breakouts Under Control
- Whether it’s spontaneous breakouts or more significant acne, skin issues can damage teens’ self-image and impact how others perceive them.
- In a recent survey, teens with acne were more likely than teens without acne to be perceived as shy, nerdy and lonely. Nearly 60% of teens admit they would stay off of Facebook for one year if they could get rid of their acne.
- Even mild breakouts are considered a medical condition and can be treated by a pediatrician – at your teen’s next appointment, ask the doctor to recommend a skin care regimen that includes a combination acne treatment, cleanser and SPF.
- Unfortunately, acne can cause both physical and emotional scarring – but helping your teen to manage acne early, may help prevent this.
An Important $$ Money-Saving Tip: Many insurance companies cover acne because it is considered a medical condition.
[One of the newest prescription treatments is Epiduo, a combination medicine that kills breakout-causing bacteria, eases inflammation, clears clogged pores and helps prevent new breakouts from forming. For additional information about Epiduo and to secure a rebate offer that could help you pay no more than $35 for each of your next three prescriptions, visit www.blamebiology.com.]
[Note from Pragmatic Mom — of course, there are other products both prescription and over the counter that effectively treat acne. I’d personally recommend asking your child’s dermatologist and/or aesthetician for product recommendations that would be most effective for your child. This helpful information they sent me may very well be a clever product placement advertisement for Epiduo.]
2. No Meat? No Problem – But Tell The Doctor
- Meat-free diets, whether vegan or vegetarian, are increasingly popular among today’s teens.
- While this lifestyle choice can be perfectly healthy for your teen, make sure the pediatrician knows about it. The doctor will want to discuss food choices and may want to monitor blood levels of certain vitamins and minerals such as iron, B12, calcium and vitamin D to ensure your teen is getting adequate levels of these nutrients.
3. Sex, Lies and the Waiting Room
- While most pediatricians will ask your teen if he/she is sexually active, don’t expect an honest answer if mom or dad is in the room. While nearly 40% of teens ages 15 – 19 report being sexually active3, many teens say they will lie if asked this question in front of a parent.
- It’s critical for pediatricians to know the truth, so try stepping out of the room during this portion of the discussion to encourage your child to answer candidly. By allowing your teen to engage in an honest dialogue with their pediatrician, not only will they get their embarrassing questions answered but the doctor can provide information and facts to reduce adolescent risky behaviors such as smoking, alcohol, sex and texting while driving.
4. Do Talk Tattoos and Piercings
- Studies suggest that 10 percent of teenagers have tattoos, and that 25 to 35 percent of high school and college students have body piercings. Whether your teen has already been inked or pierced, or is considering it, ask your doctor to share the risks of these procedures with your teen.
- Also important – if your teen’s tattoo or piercing is in a concealed location that’s out of sight to the pediatrician, make sure to let the doctor know about it. Tattoos and piercings can cause potential skin infections, and blood borne diseases such as HIV and hepatitis can be transmitted during the process – so by telling the doctor, you can ensure that your teen receives the appropriate tests to diagnose and treat any complications.
5. Teen Angst vs. Depression
- It’s not unusual for young people to experience “the blues” or occasionally rebel. While this behavior can be frustrating to parents, you (and your teen) are definitely in good company.
- However, if your teen is showing other signs such as poor performance in school, withdrawl from friends and activities or anger and change in sleeping or eating patterns, don’t be afraid to mention this to your teen’s pediatrician – it could be more than normal moodiness.
- Your pediatrician may recommend making an appointment with a therapist to address the issues your teen is facing, and suggest if counseling or other interventions may be helpful.
Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg
- Dr. Jennifer Trachtenberg is the chief pediatric officer for RealAge.com, a leading Web site for adults that contains science-based health and lifestyle content on aging and wellness. RealAge.com is a Hearst property.
- Dr. Trachtenberg is an attending physician at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, and is a mother of three.
- She has been featured numerous times on the Today Show and CNN.com, and has authored many articles on health and parenting topics, including child development and childhood obesity.
- In her private practice in Manhattan, Dr. Trachtenberg takes care of kids from birth through college.
- She recently (March 2010) published a book on how to fix common mistakes parents make when visiting the pediatrician, which is currently generating media attention. The Smart Parent’s Guide to Getting Your Kids Through Checkups, Illnesses, and Accidents: Expert Answers to the Questions Parents Ask Most
- She also published a book called “Good Kids, Bad Habits: The Real Age Guide to Raising Healthy Children” (2007).
- Here she is on TV with this advice.
To view this book at Amazon, please click on image of book.