When it comes to teenagers, many different things can be a battle.
Whether it’s letting them having friends over, or arguing with them about their homework deadlines, it can be tough.
We all want the teenagers in our care to be thriving at school and to have happy social lives. However, there are other, even bigger issues that we worry about too. Their health, and their safety.
There are certain things that teenagers are more at risk at than others. At this age, when their minds are not yet fully formed, they are more vulnerable. They sometimes have issues knowing who to trust, and which advice they should listen to.
As their parents or guardians, grandparents or elder siblings, it is our responsibility to help keep them healthy and safe. So, how can we do this?
First of all, we need to set a good example. How can you insist your teenager doesn’t smoke if you smoke, for example? Smoking and all the detrimental health effects are one of the biggest health problems for teenagers. It can also be a gateway into other forms of addictive behavior. What can start as a smoking addiction can turn into a drug problem, like a heroin addiction.
Of course, if your teen is a smoker, a drug taker or an alcoholic, they will no longer be either healthy or safe. This is why it is so important to stop this from developing right from the start. If it starts to feel out of your control, don’t hesitate in seeking professional help.
When it comes to their sexual health, it all comes down to how much knowledge and understanding they have. Unwanted pregnancies and infections can often occur in teens simply because they didn’t know truth from lies. This is why it is so important that you ensure your teen is fully educated before they enter the world of sexual activity. Some schools have lessons and talks, but these can be thin on the ground. Plus, if the class and their friends are messing around, important lessons can be missed.
So, find ways to supplement this. Buy them an informative book- they might not admit to reading it, but they probably will! Also, put aside any feelings of awkwardness to sit down for a face to face chat. There are dozens of guides online about how you can deliver this talk with confidence and clarity.
In terms of safety, you sadly don’t just have to think about protecting them from themselves! We all put a huge emphasis on stranger danger when our kids are younger. However, once they reach their teens, we can sometimes forget to reiterate this again. As children turn into teenagers, new dangers appear. This might be harassment via social media from bullies at school. It might be online grooming from adults posing as fellow teens.
None of these issues are nice to think about, but the reality is that they do exist. Pretending they don’t won’t protect your teen. Facing them head on will. Put parental locks in place, monitor their online activity and maintain open lines of communication.