Moving forward, we all know that time flies. In one blink, your 13-year-old will drive a car. In another blink, your 16-year old is packing for college. As he or she ages into pre-teen and then teen and college age, consider making your teen mindful of personal healthcare and preventive medicine.
Check with the doctor before changing medical plans. For teens who have complicated diagnoses such as childhood diabetes, you may also want to check with a social worker or other allied health professionals who know your teen.
Keep in mind that you will still, of course, need to positively encourage, remind, reinforce, follow-up, and give praise throughout the learning process. Remember to stay positive, smiling and cheerfully encouraging.
Here are 10 Good Choices your Teen can Learn:
- Increase awareness of potential injury or harm, especially regarding car accidents (See below).
- Practice good lifestyle habits.
- Eventually, you can teach your teen how to choose a personal doctor and prepare for independent, autonomous life. Prepare your child to be autonomous – here’s a teaching video by Dr. Amy Saltzman.
- Bring awareness of lifestyle habits related to car accident deaths:
Medical experts agree that it is important to empower your teen to:
(1) plan ahead, (2) make a choice and (3) be accountable.
The two most common causes of death are alcohol (30.8%) and speeding (30%). The third most common cause of death is distracted driving (26%).
Therefore, we see that 90% of all car accident deaths are related to lifestyle habits. Parents need to be mindful to teach teens by example: don’t drink and drive, don’t speed and don’t practice distracted driving.
5. Delegate a small task to your your teen, such as checking to see if there is enough gas in the car (many always leave the gas tank 1/2 full) before going to a medical appointment or errand.
6. Pharmacy: Consider having your teen call the pharmacy to check and see if a prescription is ready for pick-up.
7. Transaction: Perhaps your teen can handle a cash transaction to pay for prescriptions.
8. File Healthcare Receipts: this would be a good organizational habit for reference (and to prepare for paying future income tax).
9. Doctor appointment: Have your teen call to make the next doctor’s appointment.
10. Review the risks:benefit ratio of a decision: If decision (a) is made, then the best that could happen is ___; and the worst thing that could happen is ___. If decision (b) is made, then the best that could happen is ___; and the worst thing that could happen is ___. Doctors make decisions using this method.
Let us be mindful of our lifestyle, taking care to choose good lifestyle habits every day.
National Institutes on Drug Abuse for Teens: What is Prescription Drug Use? (Click to Listen available)
National Institutes of Health: DrugFacts – High School and Youth Trends
Refilling a Prescription: Kid’s Health
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Enjoy the smiles. They’re all around you.