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Latest Posts

Talking To Teens About Drug Addiction

A recent survey commissioned by Hazeldon, a substance abuse treatment center, has inspired a campaign to start family conversations about alcohol. They call the campaign “Four Generations Overcoming Addiction,” and it encourages parents to talk with their children about their own alcohol use when they were teenagers.

The survey results from Ipsos Public Affairs are based on interviews done online with 603 teens between the ages of 15 and 18 and telephone interviews with 620 parents of teens. Some of the interesting results included: Read more »

This post, Talking To Teens About Drug Addiction, was originally published on by Nancy Brown, Ph.D..

Teens Respond To Suicide Crisis: Talk To Me! T-shirts

I wish every teenager in America would wear a t-shirt that says “Talk to Me.” In fact, I wish the t-shirts would say “talk to me, touch me, connect with me, help me change our world!”

After three recent teens suicides, two teens at a local high school have started selling t-shirts that say “talk to me,” and I am just thrilled because these teens found a way to tell the adults around them that they need more communication! They need adults to talk with them, touch them, connect with them, and spend time with them! Every teen needs that connection, but when stressed, vulnerable and traumatized, they need it even more!

My heart is with this community and I hope these t-shirts become the school uniform!

Photo from lumaxart

This post, Teens Respond To Suicide Crisis: Talk To Me! T-shirts, was originally published on by Nancy Brown, Ph.D..

The Long-Term Consequences Of Conditional Love

Conditional love is finally getting the press it deserves – and it is all bad! Sorry Dr. Phil and Supernanny, many of us do not believe that what children need or want (specifically approval or love) should be offered contingently or doled out as rewards or withheld until they behave according to our wishes. Praising children for doing something right or punishing if they do something wrong – are both conditional and counterproductive.

Research completed in 2004 (Assor & Roth) with adults and recently replicated with ninth graders (Deci) suggests that children who received conditional approval were in fact more likely to do what a parent wanted, but as adults, the children tend to not like their parents much, feel internal pressure to do things versus a sense of choice or control, and they often felt guilty or ashamed of their behavior. In addition, children who reported feeling more loved when they lived up to their parents’ expectations feel less worthy as adults. Read more »

This post, The Long-Term Consequences Of Conditional Love, was originally published on by Nancy Brown, Ph.D..

UN’s Sex Education Guide Generates Opposition

The UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) proposed sex education guidelines are stirring up quite the controversy – before they are even published! I will give you one guess who is attacking them – oh come on, guess!

That is correct – conservative and religious groups are attacking the guidelines because of their portrayal of issues like sex education, abortion and homosexuality. Specifically, the guidelines describe sexual abstinence as only one of a range of choices available to young people to prevent disease and avoid pregnancy. The guidelines also dare to suggest that families discuss masturbation with their children, starting as young as five, but definitely with preteens.
Read more »

This post, UN’s Sex Education Guide Generates Opposition, was originally published on by Nancy Brown, Ph.D..

Many Teens Believe They’ll Die Prematurely

There was a very interesting article in Reuters Health in June that has stayed with me all summer, and I finally decided to share it with my readers – in hopes that writing about it will help me quit thinking about it!

The data for this study came from more than 20,000 teens involved in the 1995 – 2002 National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, a nationally representative school-based survey done with students in 7th through 12th grades.

The results from this disturbing study suggested that about 15% of teens believed they were likely to die prematurely, which predicted increased involvement in risky behavior and poor health outcomes during young adulthood. The question apparently asks if teens think there is at least a 50/50 chance that they will die before the age of 35, and the students who believed they would die prematurely were more likely to report illicit drug use, suicide attempts, fight-related injuries, police arrests, unsafe sexual activity, and a diagnosis of HIV at subsequent data collection points.

I guess I am not sure what to do with this information. On one hand, it suggests that all of the adults in teenagers’ lives – parents, teachers, coaches, doctors, neighbors, and family members – should pay attention to what teens think about premature death, calling for more communication, which I am supportive of, but how exactly would this subject come up?

I do not think asking how long they expect to live is the answer, but instead I do believe that adults can focus more on staying connected with teens and promoting optimism and hope in youth. I do not believe this means not talking about youth in meetings, but actually spending time with those youth where they spend their time, teaching them skills, sharing a sense of accomplishment, and making a physical and meaningful connection with each of them. Every teen needs to have multiple adults they can talk to and spend time with, especially during times of stress or interpersonal conflict.

Listening to teens talk about their friends, their futures, and their insecurities is a window into their expected life course, and being present enough to hear comments reflecting a “why bother” attitude may be the key! Please listen to your teens and help them feel positive about themselves today!

This post, Many Teens Believe They’ll Die Prematurely, was originally published on by Nancy Brown, Ph.D..

Latest Interviews

IDEA Labs: Medical Students Take The Lead In Healthcare Innovation

It’s no secret that doctors are disappointed with the way that the U.S. healthcare system is evolving. Most feel helpless about improving their work conditions or solving technical problems in patient care. Fortunately one young medical student was undeterred by the mountain of disappointment carried by his senior clinician mentors…

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How To Be A Successful Patient: Young Doctors Offer Some Advice

I am proud to be a part of the American Resident Project an initiative that promotes the writing of medical students residents and new physicians as they explore ideas for transforming American health care delivery. I recently had the opportunity to interview three of the writing fellows about how to…

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Latest Book Reviews

Book Review: Is Empathy Learned By Faking It Till It’s Real?

I m often asked to do book reviews on my blog and I rarely agree to them. This is because it takes me a long time to read a book and then if I don t enjoy it I figure the author would rather me remain silent than publish my…

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The Spirit Of The Place: Samuel Shem’s New Book May Depress You

When I was in medical school I read Samuel Shem s House Of God as a right of passage. At the time I found it to be a cynical yet eerily accurate portrayal of the underbelly of academic medicine. I gained comfort from its gallows humor and it made me…

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Eat To Save Your Life: Another Half-True Diet Book

I am hesitant to review diet books because they are so often a tangled mess of fact and fiction. Teasing out their truth from falsehood is about as exhausting as delousing a long-haired elementary school student. However after being approached by the authors’ PR agency with the promise of a…

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