8 Ways Teens Can Learn to Take Care of Their Own Health

When our children go off to college, we make sure they have their health insurance card, but we probably focus more on buying items for their dorm room than finding out if they know when to use the health service and what to say when they get there.

8 Things All Teens Need to Learn to Take Care of Their Health

1. If your children are able to complain about pain, they’re old enough to engage in the process of getting to know how they feel, what’s normal for them, and what health changes they may be feeling. Asking questions like “How is this pain different from how you usually feel? How long have you felt this way?”” are good ways to start.

2. Teach the “2 Week Rule” – If any subtle health changes last longer than two weeks, it’s time to call a doctor.

3. Keeping track of health changes on their phone and making a list of questions before the appointment may make it easier to ensure that important information is relayed.

4. Stress that there’s no such thing as TMI – doctors have heard and seen it all.

5. Rehearse how to make a doctor appointment and relay symptoms.

6. Give your older children the confidence to partner with their doctor by sharing information and asking questions. Their voice is critical to getting the right care. Emphasize that the more they say, the better, and that the doctor depends on them to help him/her make a diagnosis.

7. If their doctor gives them a treatment plan, they should always ask when they can expect to feel better and what to do if they don’t. If their doctor says they’re healthy but they know they’re not feeling well, ask the same question.

8. Make sure they know that if symptoms persist, follow-up. And, if they’re not getting anywhere with that doctor, or if the doctor doesn’t seem to be taking your child seriously, it’s time to go somewhere else.


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