Parenting your adolescent

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:45 pm
Between the ages of 12 and 21, children undergo rapid and intense physical, psychological, and social changes. Consequences of adolescent sexuality, including pregnancies and disease, teen homicides, suicides, and substance abuse are at an all-time high. Being a teen--and the parent of one--is truly a challenge today. Adjustments and challenges occur for everyone in the family. However, the teen years don't mean only trials and turbulence; these can be highly worthwhile years filled with positive experiences as the child matures. The primary physiological (fizz-ee-uh-LAJ-uh-kul) bridge between childhood and adulthood is called 'puberty' (PEW-ber-tee), which is when an individual becomes physically capable of sexual reproduction. Your adolescent should have a yearly visit to the doctor, someone whom he or she trusts, and whom you trust, and who shares your basic values. Teenage years also are the time of achieving independence from parents and establishing healthy peer relationships. Parents need to provide support and understanding, as well as discipline and values. They also need to be positive role models. Information and other types of help and support are available for parents of teens. Check with a healthcare provider for more information.

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