Fifteen to Sixteen Year Old

Now you’re settled into your teenage years, but there are still many exciting challenges ahead.  Making your own decisions becomes very important.

You will have access to new activities at school (sports, clubs etc.).  Try some of them out.  New learning experiences will make you feel good, plus building new relationships.  You might change your opinion about activities you didn’t think you’d like and add to your accomplishments.

Your friends and peers are most important to you still, but listen to friends who make good choices that you agree with.

This can be a stressful time especially building relationships with the opposite sex and starting to go out on dates.  Sometimes stress can make you feel angry and depressed.  Please reach out to a valued adult for insight into these findings.  It can be a wonderful learning experience.

We know school starts early, but try to get to bed at a reasonable hour.  Sometimes a nap after school is not a good idea, as it makes it harder to get to sleep at night.  Get plenty of exercise.  It relieves stress, burns calories and keeps you fit.  We hope you feel safe at school.  If you don’t please let us or a counselor know.  Continue to make good choices about smoking, drinking, sex, and drugs.  You will hear a lot of your peers discussing activities that may not be appropriate for you.  “NO” is okay.  Of course you still need to wear your seat belt and some of you will be learning to drive. We really recommend a Driver Ed class.  Don’t forget helmets and mouth guards for those risky sports that you love so much.  We love your body, brain, and teeth too!!  Tanning may be fashionable, but it leads to early aging and possible skin cancer later on.  It isn’t fair that something that feels so good could be so bad!

Don’t forget to eat.  Breakfast really is good for you, honestly.  It doesn’t have to be big just something to start your engine.  Eating with your family occasionally is good for you too.  If weight is a concern, we would be glad to talk to you.  Diets don’t work.  Eating healthy, smaller portions and daily exercise are the true keys to a healthy weight.  Females may have reached full growth, while males are just starting to sprout.

The AAP recommends vitamin D supplementation for all children/adolescents.    After reviewing the literature, it certainly looks like many people may benefit from vitamin D, although not everyone necessarily needs it.   Some risk factors that might make you vitamin D deficient include:  dark skin (African-americans, Indians, Hispanics), time spent indoors and not out in the sunlight (particularly in the winter months), low amount of milk consumption (less than 16 oz a day – about 2 glasses), and obesity.  Talk to your parents about picking some up for you.  The recommended dose is 400 IU (international units) once daily.  This can be bought over the counter in either liquid, chewable, or pill form.  Another option would be a multivitamin.

Hopefully you can talk to your parents about anything.  You surely can talk to us about anything.  There is a lot of wrong information out there about sex, birth control, and disease.  So ask if you have a question.  Always consider abstinence.

Your parents will have limits and consequences for you.  You may or may not agree with them, but hopefully you can discuss the issues and come to a fair solution.  You probably will be expected to do chores at home.  Some of you may be getting part-time jobs.  Be careful not to over extend yourself.  High school is your stepping stone to the future and it is your primary job.  No one expects you to know what you want to do.  Consider all interests.  Anything is possible.