Adolescence is an important time for the overall emotional development of your child. Wholehearted support from her family and teachers is essential to let her grow into a well-balanced individual. No matter what the situation, always be available as an unlimited source of support to her. Parents and teachers should never be judgemental of a child. Learn to respect her decisions while correcting her mistakes. Criticism and hard-handedness will make a child emotionally distant from her family and peers and she might not come forward with her problems. A child, however young, has individuality and self-respect, which needs to be protected at every attempt to correct her wrongdoings.
Your daughter should be made aware of the biological basis of puberty, at a time preceding the onset of menstruation. As a parent, you should talk to your daughter in a logical and supportive manner, so that she is ready to accept the change in herself. She should not have any fear or confusion regarding it. Menstruation should be accepted as a normal and healthy aspect of her life, and all the contemporary superstitions and taboos about it should be kept away from the child’s mind.
You can break down the concept of health into different categories. These could include physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral health. There are things any person can do to stay healthy in these areas. But for a teenager, there are some things you should pay special attention to.
* Exercise regularly. Teens should be physically active at least 60 minutes of every day.
* Eat a healthy diet. Healthy eating is an important part of growth and development. Ensure plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, a variety of protein foods, and low-fat dairy products in her daily diet.
* Fluids are also an important part of diet. Water help to keep hydrated, so she won’t feel so tired or thirsty. It can also help to prevent constipation.
* Maintain a healthy weight. Children and teenagers with obesity are more likely to have obesity as an adult. They are also at higher risk for other chronic illnesses, depression, and bullying.
* Get enough sleep. Most teens need between 9 and 9 hours of sleep every night. Many average only 7 hours. Sleep has a strong effect on your ability to concentrate and do well at school.
* Brush and floss your teeth. Make it a habit now, and prevent tooth and gum problems in adulthood.
Mental health: Taking care of mind
* Learn ways to manage stress. No one can avoid stress, so they need to learn how to manage it. This will help them to stay calm and be able to function in stressful situations.
* Study and do best in school. There is a strong link between health and academic success.
* Develop a good balance between school, work, and social life.
* Don’t let them to take on too much. Limit their activities to the most important ones and give those 100%. Overextending themselves can lead to stress, frustration, or exhaustion.
Behavioral health: Taking care of her safety through her behaviors
* Avoid substance use or abuse. This includes alcohol, street drugs, other people’s prescription drugs, and any type of tobacco product.
* Avoid violence. Stay away from situations where violence or fighting may cause physical injury.
Help your preteen daughter in her habits and lifestyle
Help your preteen daughter in her habits and lifestyle
Emotional health: Taking care of feelings
* Know the signs of mental illness. These include:
* excessive tiredness
* loss of self-esteem
* loss of interest in things you used to like
* loss of appetite
* weight gain or loss
* out-of-character personality changes
At least 30-45 minutes of quiet time must be allotted in your child’s schedule to help her unwind and re-energize. Let her learn to find solace in this quiet time so that she can maintain a positive frame of mind always. This time can be spent on meditation, yoga, reading storybooks, drawing, painting, and creative craftwork, etc. This segment of her day can teach her to find peace within herself amidst the chaos of everyday life, helping her stay balanced.
Educate your daughter about menstrual hygiene. This is to ensure that menstrual blood doesn’t spill over and soil the clothes, becoming a breeding ground for infection. Choose large and small pads, with or without wings, based on the expected flow rate. Showering and changing clothes daily, and changing undergarments twice a day, are a must.
A healthy lifestyle is incomplete without the daily dose of wholesome exercises and fresh air. Encourage your daughter to incorporate at least 30-45 minutes of outdoor activities into her schedule. The exercise will not only provide her with the strength and energy for the day, but it will also lay the foundation for a healthy practice that will persist on to adulthood and safeguard her from lifestyle diseases. Aerobic exercises can range from walking and running to playing games like badminton, basketball, swimming and so on.
Your teenage daughter must be given scientific awareness of normal biological processes. Make your child aware and comfortable with her own body and teach her never to feel shy or embarrassed about it. As a mother, you can help her to build a strong body image early on.
Sex should not be a taboo subject and as a parent, you must explain the basic aspects of sex and sexuality to your teenage child. This, in fact, prevents the child from gathering wrong information about it from doubtful sources. It also safeguards your child from a potential child abuser. Talk to your child about how much body contact is socially acceptable and report to you if anyone crosses that line, be it a family member or any other respected member of society. Your child must always feel confident to approach you with such an issue. And, this confidence will never come to her unless the subject has been discussed with her before.
The transition from a child to an adolescent is crucial in your daughter’s life. It sets the fundamentals for her future and lays the foundation for her long-term physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health. Healthy habits formed at this impressionable age will be an asset for life, whereas improper habits formed at this crucial time can persist on to adulthood and be a handicap forever.