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Middle Adolescence

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HEALTH ISSUES
Offer healthy snack and meal choices.  Encourage fruits and vegetables.
Encourage 3 meals daily, including a well-balanced breakfast.
Avoid direct sun exposure. Use a sunblock -  SPF 15-30.
Make an appointment with your dentist for a routine exam and continue routine cleanings every 6 months.
Brush and floss teeth daily.
Ensure adequate amounts of sleep and physical activity (exercise vigorously three times per week).
Review physical conditioning, weight training, fluids with exercise.
Encourage importance of good personal hygiene.
Counsel on avoiding smoking, chewing tobacco;, alcohol; diet pills; steroids; and drugs. Avoid situations where these items are used and offered.

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SAFETY ISSUES
Use a seat belt whenever in a moving car or van.
Set limits and encourage importance of good driving responsibility. Follow speed limits.
Install and test your smoke detector in or near your child's room.
Obtain your local Poison Control Center’s phone number and keep it on hand (you can obtain this from our Web site, www.YourPediatrician.com).
Demand use of bike helmet; mouthguards and protective sporting gear when necessary.
Avoid tanning salons and excessive sun exposure.
Instruct on fire safety.
Do not keep a firearm in your home. If you must, make sure it is locked. Do not allow your child to carry weapons.
Follow water safety rules (see our water safety KidTOPIC at www.YourPediatrician.com).

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YOUR CHILD SHOULD…
Have specific interests or hobbies.
Show pride in his or her achievements.
Respect limits and consequences parents institute.
Listen and care about peers and siblings.
Be making steady progress in school.
Share in household responsibilities.
Know how to swim.

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YOU SHOULD…
Praise your child at every opportunity.
Talk regularly with your child.
Listen to music together with your child.
Limit TV to certain programs and to maximum of 1 hour per day. Practice selective TV viewing (not channel surfing). Limit video games to the same time limit.
Encourage your child to read.
Encourage participation in sports, hobbies, learning a musical instrument and other specific interests or talents.
Be consistent with rules.  Reinforce limits and provide consequences. You decide how strict or liberal to be, just make sure you are consistent.
Set reasonable but challenging goals for your child.
Respect your child's autonomy, privacy.
Offer choices to your child at every opportunity to allow decision making.
Eat meals as a family.
Spend time doing fun family activities and family rituals.
Try to allow expression of feelings (anger, joy, sadness, fear).  Offer ways to resolve conflicts and handle anger. Discuss strategies for handling peer pressure. Discuss self-confidence issues, importance of value system, seek help if depressed or  feels hopeless.
Discuss sexual feelings as normal.  Discuss body image. Encourage abstinence from sex - "do not have sex if you do not want to"; it is the safest way to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS. Offer birth control options if necessary. Answer questions appropriately.  DON'T IGNORE THIS ITEM - THE TIME TO DISCUSS THIS OPENLY IS NOW!
Encourage  your child to have positive interactions with teachers and other adults.
Prepare for school, meet with teachers regularly. Get involved with your child's school and organized activities.
Discuss job or career goals and interests.
Get to know your child's friends and their families. Encourage interaction with good peer groups.
Be an example of the type of person you want your child to be.
Spend time alone with your partner - one of the best thing you can do for your older child is to maintain a quality relationship with your partner.

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