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Articles by Dr. Walt Larimore

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Dr. Walt Larimore

Walt Larimore, M.D. has been called “one of America’s best known family physicians.” He is a nationally-known and nationally sought after speaker and health expert. read bio

You Are the Key to Your Teen’s Well-Being

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but your teens will not be perfectly normal during puberty--or entirely rational either. Teens in the midst of wild hormonal gyrations may not interpret their world accurately. And not only are average teens hormonally challenged; they are socially challenged too. Their greatest anxiety and most deadly dread, even exceeding the fear of death, is the possibility of rejection or humiliation by their friends or peers. Since their sense of worth is dependent on the opinion and acceptance of their peers, their friends will hold an enormous influence over your teens.

But there is hope. There is much you can do to ensure that the metamorphosis will result in a beautiful and unique creature--and not a werewolf! The hormones and social forces squaring off against your teens are a double whammy. That’s why it’ll be doubly hard to talk about puberty while they’re going through it, but if they haven’t heard from you, you’re going to have to do it. The good news is that it’s never too late. The research is reasonably clear that parents are highly effective, both by the example they set and the words they say--and your words are much more effective and influential than your teens let on.

There is a veritable mountain of research that supports the idea that parents and family ties are among the most influential factors, if not the most important factor, in a child’s development and well-being. The research in a “Child Trends Report” on family strength emphasized the importance of family and parents:

  • Regular family routines (meals, chores, and errands) are linked to a teen’s academic achievement and self-esteem.
  • Teen-parent time together helps motivate education and socialize teens.
  • High parental involvement during high school increases the likelihood that teens will attend college, vote, and volunteer.
  • Teens closely supervised by their parents are less likely to engage in early or frequent sexual relations.
  • Teens who receive communication and praise are less at risk for delinquency and alcohol and drug use.
  • Teens who parents demonstrate warm support and simultaneously high demands for appropriate behavior tend to be content, self-reliant, and self-controlled.

Many parents seems surprised to learn that their teens still care about their approval. But when a study conducted by the Institute for Youth Development (IYD) asked teens what factor most affected their decision about whether to have sex, thirty-nine percent answered that the morals, values, or religious beliefs taught to them by their parents influenced them the most.

The parents’ role of instilling values in teens remains one of the most influential aspects of parenting.

Taken with permission from the book, God’s Design for the Highly Healthy Teen (Zondervan) by Walt Larimore, M.D. with Mike Yorkey.

Medical information within this site is not intended for use in the diagnosis or treatment of any health condition. Please consult a licensed health care professional for the treatment or diagnosis of any medical condition.


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