Growth and Development



Bright Futures Parent Handout: 15 to 17 Year Visits

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Here are some suggestions from Bright Futures experts that may be of value to your family.

Physical Growth and Development

Your Growing and Changing Teen

  • Help your teen visit the dentist at least twice a year.

  • Encourage your teen to protect her hearing at work, home, and concerts.

  • Keep a variety of healthy foods at home.

  • Help your teen get enough calcium.

  • Encourage 1 hour of vigorous physical activity a day.

  • Praise your teen when he does something well, not just when he looks good.

Risk Reduction

Healthy Behavior Choices

  • Talk with your teen about your values and your expectations on drinking, drug use, tobacco use, driving, and sex.

  • Be there for your teen when she needs support or help in making healthy decision about her sexual behavior.

  • Support safe activities at school and in the community.

  • Praise your teen for healthy decisions about sex, tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs.

Violence and Injury Prevention

Violence and Injuries

  • Do not tolerate drinking and driving.

  • Insist that seat belts be used by everyone.

  • Set expectations for safe driving.

    • Limit the number of friends in the car, nighttime driving, and distractions.

  • Never allow physical harm of yourself, your teen, or others at home or school.

  • Remove guns from your home. If you must keep a gun in your home, make sure it is unloaded and locked with ammunition locked in a separate place.

  • Teach your teen how to deal with conflict without using violence.

  • Make sure your teen understands that healthy dating relationships are built on respect and that saying “no” is OK.

Emotional Well-Being

Feelings and Family

  • Set aside time to be with your teen and really listen to his hopes and concerns.

  • Support your teen as he figures out ways to deal with stress.

  • Support your teen in solving problems and making decisions.

  • If you are concerned that your teen is sad, depressed, nervous, irritable, hopeless, or angry, talk with me.

Social and Academic Competence

School and Friends

  • Praise positive efforts and success in school and other activities.

  • Encourage reading.

  • Help your teen find new activities she enjoys.

  • Encourage your teen to help others in the community.

  • Help your teen find and be a part of positive after-school activities and sports.

  • Encourage healthy friendships and fun, safe things to do with friends.

  • Know your teen's friends and their parents, where your teen is, and what he is doing at all times.

  • Check in with your teen's teacher about her grades on tests.

    • Attend back-to-school events if possible.

    • Attend parent-teacher conferences it possible.

© 2010 American Academy of Pediatrics

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