The Office of Adolescent Health Services understands the difficulties of parenthood and has gathered these helpful tips and resources for parents and guardians.

I don’t know how to talk to my teen about health issues?

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RELAX

If it’s hard to talk with your teen about difference topics, wait until you hear the topic on the radio or see it on TV. Use these moments to begin a conversation about the topic.

DON’T FORGET

You can also seek help from parenting books, blogs you trust, or parenting friends

How do I talk with my teen about…

Here are some helpful tips and resources to help you get started.
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School Success and Challenges

  • Education plays a huge part in the lives of teenagers, and teens are more likely to succeed in school if their parents are involved in their learning. You don’t have to be an expert in their classes, but you can demonstrate support by providing opportunities for them to learn outside of the classroom

Relationships

  • Friends are important to youth. They help teens develop social skills, provide them with support, and encourage them to try new things. Friends can become romantic partners, bullies, or use peer pressure to encourage them to take risky behaviors

  • Parents can’t control teen relationships, but you can influence their choice in friends and romantic relationships.

Positive Values

  • The goal for parents is to help teens develop their own values, that will lead them to make positive choices throughout their life. Positive choices can be difficult to talk about, so use “what if” questions to encourage conversation about value.

  • Whether or not you agree with the values being discussed, encourage your teen to talk openly about them.

Online/Social Media Safety

  • Digital media is a part of everyday life for youth. Parents should set expectations and limits to online and social networking behaviors. Parents should also make it clear that they want access to their teens’ social media accounts. Make social media a part of daily conversation, so that teens will be more likely to talk with you about issues that come up online.

Money

  • Teaching youth about money is an important skill for them as become adults. You can begin this conversation by talking to them about priorities, needs, wants, and challenges.

Alcohol

  • Alcohol can be used a gateway to other risky behavior, including sexual behaviors and drug use. Start talking with your teen about drinking early. Listen to their questions and comments. Set ground rules for not drinking and provide consequences if they do drink. Finally, ask if alcohol is being used by their friends or if alcohol is available where they hang out. This is a conversation that should be had on a frequent basis.

Tobacco

  • The majority of youth who begin smoking during adolescence are addicted to nicotine by the time they are young adults. When talking with you youth emphasize the risks of tobacco and the effects of smoking. Make sure that you are able to talk about different forms of tobacco including cigarettes, pipes, hookahs, and electronic cigarettes.

Drugs

  • A large number of teens believe that marijuana is safe, however, it can change the way the brain processes information. It can also cause respiratory problems.

  • Talk to your teen about their interests, friends, and passions on a regular basis. By taking the time to listen to them, they’ll be more likely to approach you about difficult topics like drugs.

How do I talk with my teen about sex?

Talking with your teen about sex is hard, however, frequent talks with your teen about sex can delay the initiation of sex and/or increase safe sex. Start by having this conversation early with your teen and continue to have it as they grow older. Be sure to tell your teen why you feel that it is important they wait to have sex, or why you want them to be safe when having sex. Be sure to listen to what your youth says as well. Try not to jump to conclusions when they bring up sex and make sure they know that they can always talk to you about sex.

GET STARTED

How can I reach my teen about healthy eating habits?

  • The best way to teach your teen healthy eating habits is to serve healthy meals at home. Encourage your youth to go grocery shopping with you to help them learn how to choose healthy foods.

Learn More

How can I sign up for health insurance?

The easiest way to sign up for a health plan under the Affordable Care Act is to visit the Texas’ online health insurance market. Visit HealthCare.gov
Sign Up