How should I deal with the ups and downs my teen is experiencing?

Dr. Janet Sullivan of Hudson Health Plan gives us the answer

Being the parent of a teenager can be scary.  Teens often show poor judgment and take incredible risks with drugs, alcohol, driving or unprotected sex. As a parent it can be hard to stand by and just watch, and it’s also hard to know when to intervene. Ups and downs for teenagers are normal, but we know teen depression and anxiety can sometimes be serious and should not be ignored. Try these three suggestions:

  • Keep talking to your teenagers.  Keep asking what they are doing and with whom. If you are lucky, they will talk with you. But even if he or she won’t talk, keep asking. They may talk when they are ready.
  • Help them develop relationships with other adults. There are going to be things your son or daughter is just not comfortable discussing with you but they might be willing to talk about with another adult.
  • Your child’s doctor may offer great support. Now that your child has grown, it’s time for you to leave the examination room so the doctor can examine your child as well as talk to your teen without you. That is the only way the doctor can speak openly and candidly about what your teen is doing.  It also lets your teen begin to take charge of his or her own health, something your child will need to do as an adult. Be sure your child understands that whatever he or she tells the doctor remains confidential.

Dr. Janet Sullivan
Chief Medical Officer
Hudson Health Plan