Parenting doesn’t end when a child turns 18—it still plays a role even for adult children. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to helping your teen prepare to leave the nest, but Dr. Jenkins does offer this checklist of recommendations. Consider it a starting point, which can be edited to fit your teen’s unique personality, needs and circumstances. Set expectations around communication, especially at the beginning of the transition. For example, ask your teen for a text check-in every day or a phone call on Sundays. Have an emergency plan in place if your teen gets in trouble, and review basic safety procedures. Review basic financial literacy— for example, how to budget a weekly allowance. Make sure your teen knows how to access mental health and general health services . Tell your teen not to be afraid or reluctant to ask for help . Remind them that everyone makes mistakes, but you’ll be there to support them no matter what. WHAT’S NEXT?
Tackling Eating Disorders
Some signs of an eating disorder include preoccupation with food or weight, skipping meals, irregular eating and fluctuations of weight. “Most parents don’t realize that eating disorders, particularly anorexia nervosa, have one of the highest mortality rates of all mental health disorders and need to be addressed very seriously from the start,” Dr. Jenkins says. Call your pediatrician or primary care provider immediately for any concerns or questions.
f you notice that weight loss, dieting or control of food has become prevalent in your teen’s life, it’s imperative to address it as soon as possible. “Talk to your pediatrician if you are concerned about your child’s eating,” Dr. Jenkins says. “We know that early recognition and intervention have much better outcomes for eating disorders. Also, if you intervene early you can prevent some of the long-lasting consequences of malnutrition both on the brain and the rest of the body.”
TEEN NIGHT OWLS
Did you know evening melatonin production in teenagers is delayed by about 90 minutes, which in turn delays sleep? Encourage your teen to prepare for sleep earlier by turning off their screens. Teens should be getting about nine to 10 hours of sleep a night.
Why Rady Children’s? Rady Children’s is the go-to resource for Southern California families because of the spectrum of services it offers. Aside from emergency services and primary care support, the Hospital offers specialized adolescent medicine doctors who focus on the health of teens.
SUMMER 2022 HEALTHY KIDS MAGAZINE 11
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