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Home » Age-by-Age Insights »

Preteen & Teen: Ages 12 & Up


Teenage Girl: I don't need this medicine anymore! I'm fine! | Mom: I'm glad you feel fine. You still need to take your antibiotics for three more days.

Engage a Teen by Talking in Grown-Up Terms

How to Communicate

Most teenagers (and many preteens) can understand and discuss the medical details of their illness at an adult level. Talk to your teen using honest, simple terms and treat her ideas with respect. Plot out a health care program together that your child agrees to follow. You should also talk together about how she plans to get well.

While regimens must be followed, threatening non-compliant teenagers is usually unsuccessful. Let health care be their decision as much as possible - within safe boundaries. You might ask, "Who do you want to explain the problem to the doctor? Do you want to begin or shall I?"

Teenagers sometimes even skip taking medication, because they feel fine and don't think it's necessary. If your doctor recommends limited activity for your teen, you may have to be more vigilant and insist that your teenager stay home from school or social activities. If she argues, defer to the doctor, or ask her to call the doctor herself.

Stay as calm as possible when dealing with a teenager's protest or anguish. Instead of criticizing with phrases like "That's absurd," accept your child's version of reality. You might say, "I bet it stinks to feel so sick." Instead of threats, you could ask, "What do you think will help?" And if you don't follow your child's suggestions, tell her why and explain what you will do in clear terms.

Tips for Taking Medicine

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