USEP-OHIO PARENT TIP
This brief Parent Tip is provided at no cost by United Services for Effective Parenting-Ohio, Inc. as a tool to assist parents, teachers, grandparents, and all who help to care for and to raise our children. For more information on this and other tools from USEP-OHIO refer to the conclusion of this Parent Tip.
Parent Tips for Basic Health Needs
Sunburn may seem relatively tame compared to some of the other dangers. But teens with sunburns are much more likely to get skin cancer in their future. A large national study of kids 12-18 found that only a third said they normally use sunscreen. More than 80% of kids reported sunburn at least once during the previous summer. Over one third got sunburned three or four times, according to Journal of Pediatrics, which increases risk of skin cancers.
- Buy sunscreen with a protective factor of 15-30. Look for chic bottles, not those designed for little children.
- Tell teens that 12 to 18 is a crucial time for skin moles. Greater sun exposure means a greater chance of getting moles that teens often do not like; they can be precursors of melanoma.
- Don’t let teens go to tanning booths. The Pediatrics study showed that the more times tanning booths are used, the greater the risk of melanoma. More than a third of teen girls use tan booths.
- Help teens find sunless tans that work for them. There are many available that are realistic looking and safe for their health.
- Remind teens that everyone, no matter how dark his or her skin, needs sunscreen.
Parent Tips for Teens and Caffeine
Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine reports that caffeine intake by teenagers is associated with increased blood pressure in some adolescents. The prevalence of hypertension among youth is rising, and African American adolescents have higher systolic pressure (the top number) than white adolescents. It is estimated that 68% of boys and 62% of girls aged 12 to 17 drink one or more soft drinks daily, and 21 % of boys and 22% of girls consume coffee or tea on a daily basis.
- Help teens find good, nutritious alternatives to coffee, sodas or energy drinks.
- Encourage teens to recognize the good health qualities of water, which will assist in keeping their complexion clear and their bodies functioning efficiently.
- Keep iced water in the refrigerator in the summer. Add lemon and orange slices to flavor. Find other soda alternatives.
Raising Emotionally Intelligent Teenagers, a book by Maurice J. Elias, Steven E. Tobias, and Brian S. Friedlander, explores how parents can guide their teens to becoming compassionate, committed, courageous adults.
Parent Tips for the Risk of Smoking
The Youth Risk Behavior Survey of the Ohio Department of Education showed that over 70% of youths had tried cigarette smoking. Tobacco is often the first drug used by young people who later use alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs. Adolescents with lower levels of school achievement, with fewer skills to resist pervasive influences to use tobacco, with friends who use tobacco, and with lower self-images are more likely than their peers to use tobacco.
Cigarette advertising appears to increase youth risk of smoking by affecting their perceptions of the persuasiveness, image, and the function of smoking.
The net effect, according to the Surgeon General’s Report (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) is that five million people will die an early preventable death because of a decision made as a child.
- Share stories with your teen of friends and family who lost health due to smoking.
- Call your teen’s attention to the other effects of smoking – heart problems, increased lines and creases in skin (due to reduced oxygen in the blood).
- Set a good example. Do NOT smoke, and encourage other family members to quit.
- Nearly all first usage of tobacco begins before high school graduation.
- Second-hand smoke is a threat to the health of everyone, especially persons with asthma and other respiratory problems.
- Nicotine is addictive. Duke University researchers found that teens whose mothers smoked during pregnancy can show signs of nicotine dependence and withdrawal after just a handful of cigarettes. Prenatal exposure to nicotine inflicts lasting damage that might leave the brain vulnerable to further injury.
- Ask teens about friends who smoke. Discuss the costs – both health risks and financial burdens. It is expensive to smoke.
- Help your teen find the words to turn down encouragement from peers to smoke.
- Discuss how much the family would spend if both parents smoked one pack each day. What else could be purchased for the same amount of money? Some examples might be: a vacation, a car, or new furniture.
In Conclusion – Summer Parent Tips
- Encourage your teens to sign up for organized activities.
- Help them look for a summer job, a camp experience, volunteer opportunities or classes. Help paint over graffiti, or plant flowers in the neighborhood; be an errand person or helper for a working family; or do yard work or fixit tasks for elderly neighbors not only to fill time but to teach a sense of satisfaction.
- Consider serving as a parent-helper in order to partner with your teens. Community churches often take teens on work-camp experiences that broaden teens’ hearts and minds, or supervise their work for older neighbors or shut-ins.
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For more on “Taking Care of Our Teens,” click here.
To read Chelsea’s previous post on “Taking Care of Our Teens,” click here.
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