I looked at my oldest daughter the other day and realized she will not be with us at home for too many more years. I almost panicked wondering if we taught her everything she needs to know and provided everything she needs for the best possible start in life.
This is the time where as parents we give our teenagers more freedom yet they should still have some firm boundaries. Teens need to start making their own decisions along with receiving the consequences. However, we can still guide them and create an environment where they will thrive.
Natural tips for keeping your teenager healthy
Teenagers need a lot of sleep. Their bodies are growing and changing and their brains are still getting hard wired. It is recommended that teens receive 8-10 hours of sleep per night. I encourage regular rests and naps. We limit caffeine-laden beverages in the home that may interfere with a natural sleep cycle, for all of our children.
It is important that they stay active. Teens can spend so much time behind screens, at school and doing homework or at work that they may not be as active as they were when they were younger. If they aren’t on a sport’s team, encourage them in a weekend family outdoor activity or join the gym together. Sweating gets toxins out. I once heard someone say, “If you don’t regularly sweat then the water in your body is like a stagnant pond.” Gross. They need sunshine a few minutes a day for natural and free Vitamin D. Exercise can also help them manage stress.
I know this is tough because teens aren’t home like they used to be as children. But, I am always talking to mine about foods and their choices (they love that!) and I try to keep the kitchen stocked with healthy food. We talk about how what they eat is fuel for their bodies. An abundance of processed foods, sugar and soda pop is not beneficial and is downright harmful. Purchasing healthy snack for them to take on-the-go may help prevent fast food stops.
They need them, a good whole food sourced vitamin. Some even contain herbs that can help with hormones. You can thank me later. I highly encourage probiotics and fermented drinks and food to build up the flora in the gut.
All age humans crave healthy touch. This can come as a high five, pat on the back or a dad giving his daughter a side hug. Just because these kids are taller than some of us now does not mean their basic needs have changed. Yes, they don’t sit in our laps anymore while we read them a book but the need for closeness is still there. Our approach needs to change along with our kids, not disappear.
A friend of mine once told me that his mom “stopped being a mom when he turned thirteen.” That is very sad. Teens still need love, guidance, and relationship. If they want to talk, then I suggest dropping everything and listening. If they don’t want to talk then making sure they know you are always available is wise. Our job as parents is never done. Our role may change over the years but we can still be an example and help them sort out this crazy world.
Brooke DeLong, N.D.
“Adolescence is a period of rapid changes. Between the ages of 12 and 17, for example, a parent ages as much as 20 years.”Author unknown