Helping Teens Embrace Self-Care
Before teens leave home, parents need to teach them to make their own healthcare decisions. One way is to provide information and include them in their own self-care from an early age.
It's important to remember that teens often cope better with added responsibility when their parents are willing to support them as they face new challenges.
By including teens as full participants in their self-care, they're more likely to choose healthy behaviors during their lives.
Helping your teen
You can help your teens move toward independence in making healthcare decisions by being a good role model:
In addition, don't smoke, abuse alcohol, or take illegal drugs. Your teen will take away a powerful message that these activities harm health and well-being.
Encourage your teen to think independently and express his or her own thoughts. This will give your teen a healthy sense of self. It will make him or her better able to resist peer pressure. Make sure your teen has all the information he or she needs to make informed, responsible decisions about reproductive health. This includes the meaning of safe sex.
Work with your teen's healthcare provider to help your teen make age-appropriate decisions about treatment.
The teen years are a good time to help create an independent relationship between your children and their providers. Parents can make sure their teen has time at each appointment to talk with their provider alone. This will prepare them for relating to healthcare providers independently as adults.
Your teen may have an ongoing (chronic) illness, such as diabetes or asthma. If so, help him or her learn as much as possible about managing the condition and treatment options.
Knowledge is empowering. It can help your teen feel more in control. It's vital for parents to help their children accept appropriate responsibility for caring for themselves. Letting them master day-to-day self-care can give them self-confidence. This can help them get ready for adult life.