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Growth and Development, Ages 15 to 18 Years - Topic Overview

When are routine medical visits needed?

A teenager should see his or her doctor for a routine checkup each year. The doctor will ask your teen questions about his or her life and activities. This helps the doctor check on your teen's mental and physical health. It's a good idea to give your teen some time alone with the doctor during these visits to talk in private. Your teen will also get the shots (immunizations) that are needed at each checkup.

Teens should also see the dentist each year.

When should you call your doctor?

Call your doctor if you have questions or concerns about your teen's physical or emotional health, such as:

  • Delayed growth.
  • Changes in appetite.
  • Body image problems.
  • Behavior changes.
  • Skipping school or other problems with school.
  • Alcohol and drug use.

Also call your doctor if you notice changes in your teen's friendships or relationships or if you need help talking with your teen.

How can you help your teenager during these years?

Even though teens don't always welcome your help, they still need it. Your being available and involved in your teen's life can help your teen avoid risky behavior. It also helps your teen grow and develop into a healthy adult. Here are some things you can do:

  • Encourage your teen to get enough sleep.
  • Talk about body image and self worth.
  • Encourage your teen to eat healthy foods and be active.
  • Talk with your teen about drugs and alcohol.
  • Be ready to address your teen's concerns and problems.
  • Involve your teen in setting household rules and schedules.
  • Continue talking to your teen about dating and sex.
  • Encourage community involvement (volunteering).
  • Set rules about media use.

Teens really want to know that they can talk honestly and openly with you about their feelings and actions. It is very important for teens to know that you love them no matter what.

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