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Growth during adolescence is linked to the hormonal changes of puberty. Girls usually enter puberty earlier than boys. The inches and pounds added during adolescence can matter in a big way.
Inches added to height = 25 percent of final adult height
Pounds added to weight = 50 percent of final ideal weight
The age that your daughter enters puberty depends on several factors including her general health, nutritional status, and family history.
You can predict the order of the changes associated with puberty, but you cannot predict the timing. Girls usually tend to develop breast buds before their pubic and axillary hair. About two years later, menstrual periods begin. A growth spurt begins before breast budding and ends before periods begin.
You can also predict the order of the changes associated with puberty, but you cannot predict the timing. Boys usually begin puberty with enlargement of the testicles and scrotum. Pubic hair begins to grow. At the same time, boys may begin to ejaculate. The penis becomes longer and thicker. At the same time, hair grows on the face and underarms and the voice deepens. A growth spurt begins at the same time pubic hair appears and usually lasts between 24 to 36 months.
It is important to be informed about testicular cancer and testicular self-exams. Follow these instructions and healthy habits.
Call your doctor for an appointment for the following:
Before age 7-8: Breast development or pubic hair
Before age 10: Menstrual periods
Before age 9: Enlargement of the testicles and scrotum or pubic hair
Call your doctor for an appointment for the following:
At age 13: No signs of breast enlargement
At age 16: No menstrual periods
At age 14: No testicular enlargement
Weekend morning sleep-ins are your teen’s way of making up for missed sleep. Teens need at least nine to 10 hours of sleep per night. If your teenager sleeps more than one hour past his or her typical wake time, this is evidence of chronic sleep deprivation.
Chronic daytime sleepiness, poor grades in morning classes, or drowsiness when driving are signs that your teen might need a more consistent sleep routine every day of the week.
Be sure your teen knows what to do if involved in a motor vehicle accident. Stress the importance of remaining at the scene. Write out simple directions on a 3 x 5 card (including insurance information) and place it in the glove compartment of the car, along with auto registration.
If your teen has a substance abuse problem, get him or her into therapy immediately. Deal with the situation as you would an illness, accepting the problem and putting your energy into supporting your child’s recovery.
Although almost any one of these signs can appear in a normal, nondrug-using teen, if you see several of these signs together, your child may have a substance abuse problem.
Call your doctor to find out how to get help if your child: spends too much time alone; stops talking or argues frequently with family members; drastically changes style of dress or hair; ignores homework and their grades are dropping; drops old friends; has new friends who are less familiar and less friendly to adults; has frequent or unexplained injuries; sleeps poorly or complains of tiredness; develops irregular eating habits; has bloodshot eyes, very large or small pupils; has frequent “colds” or nosebleeds; has unusual odors on clothing; seems “jumpy” or hyperactive; has mood swings including irritability, depression, hostility, or paranoia; keeps drug paraphernalia; attempts to or runs away from home; or steals money or valuables from your home.
Remember, children need love most when they are the most unlovable.
If your teen shows signs of serious depression, get help for him or her immediately. Deal with the situation as you would an illness, accepting the problem and putting the energy into supporting your child’s recovery.
Teens are often moody and cannot seem to hear anything you say. While you will learn to ignore some behaviors, other behaviors are signs of a serious problem and must not be ignored.
The following are warning signs of severe depression. Call your doctor and ask for help if your child: constantly complains of stomachaches, headaches or tiredness; sleeps too much or too little; loses or gains weight very quickly; neglects appearance; increases risky behaviors – drugs, alcohol, unsafe sex, and drinking and driving; loses interest in school and friends – falling grades, dropping out of activities, cutting classes and withdrawing from friends and family; seems suddenly cheerful after a long period of depression; makes statements like “I feel dead inside”; seems preoccupied with death in choice of music and clothing and talks frequently about friends who have died; or gives away prized possessions, writes a will, or makes other “final” arrangements.
Call a suicide crisis hotline, local emergency department, 911, or your child’s doctor if your child: complains of feeling hopeless; makes comments like, “I’d be better off dead;” or has a specific plan for committing suicide. Take suicide seriously.
Risk factors for suicide
Suicide is the third leading cause of death in the teen years. For every teen suicide, there are 200 suicide attempts. Risk factors may include:
Source: Bright Futures, 2nd edition
The Signs of Suicide (SOS) Program trains people how to ACT if a friend or child is severely depressed and possibly suicidal. ACT stands for Acknowledge, Care and Treatment (for teenagers, the “T” stands for “Tell a responsible adult”). Call 1.800.573.4433 to locate the closest training site.