Developing healthy habits during teenage years helps young people become more independent decision-makers. From knowing about their personal medical history to having important conversations with family, friends and health care providers, adolescents can be proactive in understanding and participating in everyday health decisions.
Beaumont nurse practitioner Maureen Murphy provides care at the Beaumont Teen Health Center in River Rouge. She treats teenagers every day and often guides them through understanding their personal health habits, needs and history.
“It’s important for teenagers to understand they may not always be with their parents,” said Murphy. “They need to know how to maneuver in unfamiliar territory. This means really knowing their personal medical history and preparing ahead of time for a doctor’s appointment.”
Encouraging teens to know their history can help them be more preventive in various areas of their lives.
Here are a few tips to help teach your child what to know, how to prepare and what to expect with a visit to their health care provider:
- Know your basic health information and medical history. This can include any allergies, surgeries, family health history and medications.
- Know what medications you take, what they’re for, when and how much to take and any side effects that may be of note.
- Always be truthful with your health care provider. Don’t be afraid to talk about your personal medical facts, even if that includes drinking, drugs, sexual behavior or other high-risk behaviors.
- Think about what you can say or do ahead of time that will help make health care decisions and conversations easier.
- Practice being more assertive by answering most or all of the questions at an appointment or by carrying all necessary documents with you, including insurance cards, ID, allergy and medication lists and an emergency contact list.
Other healthy habits every teen should practice include:
- Sleep for 8-10 hours every night
- Avoid using phones or watching TV for more than an hour at a time. Sedentary behavior can cause a lack of sleep or anxiety.
- Exercise for 60 minutes at least three times per week
- Seek out other activities, such as reading, adult coloring books or at-home workouts
- Start the day with saying or writing three positive affirmations or identifying three great qualities about you.
- Know how to access important resources and phone numbers if you or a friend needs help. This includes access to a crisis hotline for suicide prevention or by calling 211 for free and confidential access to resources for food, health and crisis and emergency support, among others.
The Beaumont Teen Health Centers located in Inkster, Redford Township, River Rouge, Romulus, Taylor and Westland offer classes and provide resources for life skills, coping mechanisms and goal setting through motivational interviews with a health expert.