14, 15 years (male)
Try to eat 3 healthy meals a day. Your performance in school and other extra activities will respond to what you put into your body (good or bad). You need 3-4 foods a day high in calcium because your bones are approaching their peak growth and strengthening. Milk, yogurt, or calcium-fortified orange juice are good options. And don't forget the fiber — it is known to prevent illnesses such as cancer and diseases of the stomach.
Your body does need more calories now than ever before, but try not to cheat it with the chips, fries, pop, and donuts. No one can deny that these "junk" foods taste great, but they can quickly replace what your body really does need and can lead to future weight problems. Try to limit these foods for special occasions. Also, try not to get into habits that will be tough to break later on, such as eating on the run or in front of the TV. Make a point to eat with your family at least once a day; as your life gets busier this may be the only time you actually see each other some days!
If you are unhappy with your performance or appearance, take a good look at your eating and see what you could change. If you eat well, drink plenty of water, and exercise regularly, your body will look, grow and perform at its' best. If you are concerned about your size, please talk to your health care provider.
If you want your teeth and gums to be healthy your entire lifetime, take care of them now. Brush well 2-3 times a day and see your dentist 2 times a year.
If you find that you need more sleep than you are getting, try to go to bed earlier instead of sleeping in; getting up late can alter your normal body rhythm and make you even more tired during the day and sleepless at night. Also, try not to save all of your "think time" for bedtime — it often delays falling asleep.
Always wear your seatbelt in the car and your helmet when biking or in- line skating. We see permanent, life-changing injuries resulting from simple accidents, and NO ONE thought it would happen to them.
Wear sunscreen if you are outside. A great tan is not worth cancer.
Wear your life jacket if boating or near deep water, even if you swim well.
Take your body seriously. Make the decision now not to smoke, take drugs, drink alcohol, or have sex. Practice what you would say if someone pressured you. It only takes one mistake to change your life forever. If you have questions about sex, HIV or AIDS, pregnancy, drugs, alcohol, or tobacco, please ask your mom or dad or your doctor or nurse practitioner.
Introduce your friends to your family, negotiate your curfew times reasonably, and expect that your parents will want to know where you are.
If you are in sports, make sure the playing areas are kept up well, and all protective equipment fits and is in good shape. Never share head gear.
Remember that driving is a privilege to be taken seriously. Practice. And in case you didn't know, Minnesota State Law prohibits permit holders from using a cell phone while driving.
Your friends and school activities are important, but try to do a "family" event at least weekly, and sit and talk with your mom or dad a little every day. You may not always agree on things (such as grades, household jobs, curfew, or friends) but talking about your differences helps you understand each other better. You may find that you have special interests in school or in the community, and are starting to think about what you may be interested in doing in the future. This is also often the time of increasing interest in developing relationships with others.
Family & School
Many boys notice the body changes of "puberty" happening now (fast height growth, armpit and pubic hair, deepening voice, body odor, increased penis and testicle size, and acne). These changes can continue through high school. In regards to acne, the best treatment is staying healthy overall (eating well, drinking water, getting sleep and exercise). Wash your face and other acne-prone areas (back, chest) no more than 2-3 times a day with your hands and mild soap.
Girls have usually experienced most of their body changes by now. All these changes can be exciting or embarrassing, so respect other people's privacy. If you have any questions about your health, body changes or sexuality, please ask your mom or dad or your health care provider here. There are also many good books.
We look forward to seeing you again for a check-up next year!