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Hospital chief offers tips on parenting teens

Posted by Doris Wong  June 9, 2010 08:53 AM

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Pressures to conform to the norms of teenage society - whether they relate to appearance, alcohol or drug use, sexuality or self-esteem - have been the fodder for drama since at least Shakespeare took up a quill.

"Parenting Through Adolescent and Teen Behaviors," a free presentation with Dr. Michael Jellinek, director of Newton-Wellesley Hospital, will give parents the tools they need to help their children deal with these pressures.

It will take place Saturday, June 12 at 11 a.m. at the Hynes Convention Center in Boston, as part of the city's annual Health and Fitness Expo. Pre-registration is required at the event's Web site, bostonhealthexpo.com.

"This panel came about because of concerns everyone has for what adolescents deal with," said Jellinek. "As teens grow up and become more autonomous, they become more distant from their parents and their parents worry. My hope is that this presentation will show parents how to maintain the lines of communication so that their children can grow up as happy and healthy as possible."

Co-presenting with Dr. Jellinek will be Dr. Steven Schlozman, associate director of child psychology at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and Dr. Timothy Wilens, substance abuse expert and associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

The three have published numerous times on topics related to teen health needs. Planned subjects for discussion include promoting healthy self-image and recognizing the signs of depression and substance abuse.

"We hope there's also an opportunity to talk about bullying, which has become a hot button issue, because bullying has a negative effect on self-esteem," Jellinek said. "We picked these topics because they are common threads we see in the worries parents have about their children, and because they are a very real part of teen's lives."

Sarah Thomas can be reached at sarah.m.thomas@gmail.com.

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