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Active Living
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Childbirth
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Advice from the Maternity Clinic
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Smoking and Pregnancy
Support During Labour
Travelling While Pregnant
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Introduction
Managing Your Pain
Movement Matters
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Returning to Work
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When Pain Doesn't End
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Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
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The Smile You Want
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Smiling through the Senior Years
Teeth for Life
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Tobacco Risks to Oral Health
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Wisdom Teeth
Your Healthy Smile
DIABETES
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10,000 Steps
A1C Test
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A Diabetes Success Story
ABCs of Diabetes Management
Alternate Site Testing
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Benefits of Insulin
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Blood Glucose Medications
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Blood Sugar Lows
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Canada Food Guide Revisited
Carbohydrate Counting
Catastrophic Drug Plan
CDA Guidelines for Diabetes
Celiac Disease and Diabetes
Celebrating Health
Childhood Diagnosis of Diabetes
Children and Type 2 Diabetes
Cholesterol-lowering Medications
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Continuous Blood Glucose Monitoring
Cutting Edge
Dangers of Uncontrolled High Blood Pressure
Debunking Diabetes Myths
Driving and Diabetes
Diabetes and Menopause
Diabetes and OTC Medications
Diabetes Care Team
Diabetes and Celiac
Diabetes and Depression
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Diabetes Eating on a Shoestring Budget
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Diabetes in Cats
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Diabetes Management ABCs
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Diet Tips for South Asians
Dining Out
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The Discovery of Insulin
Eating Disorders
Easing the Strain of Stress
Eating to Protect Your Kidneys
Eating Well During Shift Work
Eggs in a Diabetic Diet
Emotional Eating
Emotions of Diabetes Diagnosis
Erectile Dysfunction
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Why Fad Diets Fail
Fats
Fibre
Fill Your Day with Energy
Financial Support for Diabetes
Food Temptation
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Get Active
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Going Green in the Kitchen
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Holiday Party Survival Guide
Health Information on the 'Net
Healthy Happy Holidays
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Health Benefits of Soy
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High Blood Pressure
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Healthy Eating for Active People
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Home from the Hospital
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Living with Diagnosis of Diabetes
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Your Medication Expert
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No Need for Insulin?
Not Snoozing
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Pedicure Precautions
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Safe and Successful Travel
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Setting Health Goals
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Sleep - a Missing Link
Smart Snacking
Smart Summer Nutrition
Snack Bars
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Solving the Insurance Puzzle
Stress and Diabetes
Success in School
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Supporting Spouse with Diabetes
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Think Positive with Diabetes
Tiny Bites Equal Big Calories
Travelling with Diabetes
Tips for a Better You
Tobacco Use and Diabetes
Top 10 Reasons to Exercise
Treating Low Blood Glucose
Treating Hypoglycemia - Role of Glucagon
Tune up Your Diet
Type 1.5 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes
Understanding Diabetes
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Used Sharps
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Vacationing with Diabetes
Vegetarian Eating for Diabetes
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Wise Choices About Natural Medicines
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World Diabetes Day
Your Medicine Cupboard
Zimbabwe Hand Jive
Family Medicine
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ADHD in Children
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Aspirin Every Day?
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5 Tips to Manage Weight
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Battle the Bulge
Boost Your Bone Strength
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Breakfast is Important
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Building Your Bones
Celiac Disease
Challenging the Milk Myth
Diet Reality Check
Drink Up!
Eating Smarter & Cheaper
Energy Drinks
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Food for Active Kids
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Healthy Diet, Healthy Smile
Healthy Eating for Boomers and Zoomers
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Healthy Eating on Business Travel
Healthy Ethnic Meals
Fad Diets
Fruits & Veggies - 5-10 a Day
Fats
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Feeding Your Kids
Fibre
Food Chemistry 101
Food and Mood
Getting Kids to MOVE
Healthy Eating for Teens
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New Ingredients for Your Shopping Cart
Iron
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Mercury Levels in Fish
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Nutrition Questions Top 5
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After a Heart Attack
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Changing Role of the Pharmacist
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Expanding Role of Pharmacies
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Generic or Name Brand?
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Bacteria Fight Back
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H1N1 Virus - Plan Ahead
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Teens, Drugs and Driving
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15 Great Reasons to Breastfeed
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Menopause - What Men Should Know
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Family Health Online / Pharmacy at Safeway
Family Health Magazine - adolescent health

Parent-Teen Communication
How to learn to like the teenager you love

These two quotes mirror the conflict occurs as you and your child pass through the turbulent teenage years. Until this time, parents have been all-powerful figures in their child's life. Part of the conflict of adolescence arises when teens realize that parents are not magical. They have uncertainties and flaws that make them, well - real people.

The disappointment at finding out their parents are not god-like can be very disappointing. This, not surprisingly, leads to the question in your teenager's mind –"What else haven't I been told, and why not?". Mistrust and rebellion on the teen's part are too often a response to the disappointment of learning that parents are only human. Rebellion against the established order (parental authority) can be very threatening and disruptive, as rebellions inevitably are. It is easy to find fault with people who are annoying us. So the question for parents becomes,"How do I learn to like the teenager I love?"

Adolescence is a time of hormonal awakening, with changes in body stature, emotions and awakening of basic instincts. It is a powerful force, as it takes teens on a wild ride. Too often, the people best able to help them understand their new emotions are the very people they now seem to mistrust.

“I don’t know why I did it, I don’t know why I enjoyed it, and I don’t know why I’ll do it again.”
- Bart Simpson

How can communication be maintained?

You do not have to agree with everything that is happening to your teen, or with the prevailing attitude. You do owe it to both of you to acknowledge what is happening and try to understand. This is a duty that parents have towards their not yet fully grown child. Teens may look like adults, but there is still some intellectual and emotional maturing that has to occur.

Communication Goals

What Parents Want to Say What Teens Want to Hear
  • We want to protect you from disease and unplanned pregnancy
  • We want you to avoid the entrapment and soul robbing effects of drugs and alcohol.
  • We want you to understand the unconditional love we feel for you, and the devastation that would occur in our lives if anything bad happened to you.
  • We want you to have the best life, full of adventure and happiness.
  • We want you to understand that when we say "be careful" we are really saying a little prayer for your safety.
  • We want you to survive your teenage years so that you can live to enjoy your adult years.

 

  • We want a conversation, not a lecture.
  • We want preparation for adult activity. Whether
    we are having sex or not, we need to be prepared.
  • If we ask about sex or birth control or drugs, do not assume that we are already doing this. Sometimes, we are just curious.
  • Don't leave us alone so much. Sometimes, all it
    takes for risky behaviour is the unsupervised
    opportunity.
  • We really care about what parents think, even though we don't always act like it.
  • Show us what good responsible relationships look like. Sharing, caring and communicating are taught best by demonstration.
  • Talk to us honestly about love, sex and relationships.
  • We want to talk to real people who have had to face the consequences of their actions.
  • What you see as outrageous dress or behaviour is our attempt to be unique people. We are often experimenting with different roles, and not necessarily adopting them.

There is still a parental duty to protect against the consequences of risk-taking behaviour, be it alcohol and drugs, driving or sex. Some observations based on research of both parents and teens are shown in the adjacent table.

You can see some similarities in the want lists. Is there a way to mesh these, and communicate them to each other? Is there room for compromise? Are there basic common tools we must ensure our children have?

It is never easy to parent teenagers, but there are some necessary skills you need to develop for you and your child to survive the teenage years positively.

Which skills does your teenager need?

James Windell, an American psychologist, has recently published a book that outlines the most important ones.

  1. Teach your teenager to set goals.
  2. Teach your teenager to identify and change self-defeating behaviour.
  3. Teach your teenager to be assertive.
  4. Teach your teenager to have feelings for others.
  5. Teach your teenager to handle anger.
  6. Teach your teenager to resolve conflicts peacefully.

Just when things may seem most difficult, try to step back and put them in perspective. Your child is not always breaking a curfew, is not always messy, is not always moody, is not always disrespectful. It is important to realize that all the behaviours you find so bothersome only occur sometimes. Therefore, be prepared to take the time to resolve conflicts. Don't be afraid to apologize if you feel you are wrong or if you have made a mistake. Acknowledge that raising a teenager is a new experience for you too, and that you are learning as you go along.

Remember, regardless of how bright your child may be, you have the vastly superior advantage of experience. Remember, too, your youth. You survived it and so will your child.

The goal is to raise a socially responsible adult, able to withstand the trials and tribulations of an increasingly complicated, and often outrageous world.

If you feel overwhelmed by the experience of the teen years, there are resources and professionals available to help you, and your teen. The strengths and experiences of your various family members can be invaluable. In the community, there are agencies and professionals
available to help. Have you investigated the family life courses and life skills classes that the school offers to your child? Have you spoken about your concerns with your family doctor? Very often, a frank discussion with a professional can bring things back into perspective again.

These are your children, and your love for them is unconditional. Recognize they are on a very difficult passage to adulthood and are often scared of what awaits them. The tribal behaviour and conformity of youth is a coping mechanism. Empathetic and kind behaviour, and honest observations rather than criticism on your part, might go a long way in keeping lines of communication open. "Do unto them, as you would have them do unto you" is ancient, but still applicable wisdom for our modern world. Mutual respect and trust should be the goal. Don't we all like people we can respect and trust?

Many resources are available to assist both parents and teens, including educators, school counsellors and family physicians. A helpful book is Six Steps to an Emotionally Intelligent Teenager by James Windell.

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FAMILY HEALTH is written with the assistance of
College of Family Physicans of Canada
Alberta College of Family Physicians
FAMILY HEALTH is written
with the assistance of
The College of Family Physicans of Canada
Alberta College of Family Physicians
While effort is made to reflect accepted medical knowledge and practice, articles in Family Health Online should not be relied upon for the treatment or management of any specified medical problem or concern and Family Health accepts no liability for reliance on the articles. For proper diagnosis and care, you should always consult your family physician promptly. © Copyright 2015, Family Health Magazine, a special publication of the Edmonton Journal, a division of Postmedia Network Inc., 10006 - 101 Street, Edmonton, AB T5J 2S6    [AD_FHd99]
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