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ADOLESCENCE: Child Development/Mental Health

SECTIONS: Recognize Success, Achievements, and Failure ~ Develop Healthy Emotions ~ Decision-Making


Recognize Success, Achievements, and Failure

  • teenage girl with Chicago Cubs hat on sitting at a deskPraise your teen's efforts. Compliment successes.
  • Show affection. Teens may act like they don't want your attention, but they really do!
  • Recognize failures. Don't be afraid to let your teen fail sometimes. Failure teaches coping skills, such as how to deal with anxiety and stress—emotions all kids will need to learn to handle as difficult situations arise in the future.
  • Support your teen's evolving self-image. Comment on the positive things she does or has learned. Don't just correct things she has done wrong.


Develop Healthy Emotions

  • Help your teen see things from others' points of view to learn that not everyone thinks and feels the same way.
  • Model nonviolent conflict-resolution. Teens today think about violence, like cyberbullying (through the Internet), school shootings, and suicide bombers. Most parents didn't face these issues when they were young. Talk about these things as you hear about them in the news. Ask your teen about concerns about different types of violence. Help your teen develop ways to cope with and address situations he faces.
  • Talk to your teen's health care provider if you are concerned about her behaviors, moods, mental health, or substance abuse.



  • Involve youth in family decision-making, as appropriate. This can provide experience with the ups and downs of "real life" and the many ways families choose to address situations. Praise his efforts and thank him for his help.
  • Encourage problem-solving skills rather than providing all the answers.
  • The legal age of consent varies by state. Your teen's health care provider needs your young adult's permission to share information with you once the legal age is reached. Depending on your young adult's medical and cognitive needs, you may want to ask him to sign a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) release form so his health care provider can still talk to you about your teen.
  • Youth with special health needs usually want to be like everybody else. Some may try not taking medications or following medical advice because it makes them feel different. Talk to your teen's health care provider if you have concerns.