Teens need an atmosphere of trust

Dr Sonia S Kanitkar is a paediatrician, specialised in handling both children and teenagers' issues. She answers some questions from anxious parents of teenagers.

My 12-year-old daughter, off late, has stopped listening to me and also wants to copy whatever her friends do. She was a good student last year, but now her scores in some subjects are falling. I am unable to understand, what has happened to her?

This is a common scenario in any household which has an adolescent. Adolescence is a period of tumultuous change from childhood to adulthood, starting at 10 years of age till 18 years. Numerous changes are occurring at this time — physical,  sexual, emotional  and psychological. Your daughter is in her early adolescence, where the rapid growth in the body baffles them.

She is struggling with the sense of Identity for herself. They want to start thinking independently. Friends of the same sex become their most important pre-occupation and family takes a backseat. At this stage, they form a body image and feel awkward about one’s body.

Your  daughter should feel free to talk to you about all her dilemmas, whether physical , sexual or emotional. Developing this relationship and open communication needs quality time with parents.

Create an atmosphere of honesty, trust and respect . Know their friends and be their friends. Teach them to cope with problems face to face. Teach them the limits of a rule in the family. They need to be taught the sense of responsibility towards themselves and others.

My boy is in sixth standard and he is shorter than any other girl in  his class. He feels shy. Both mine and my husband’s height is good. Why is he not growing tall? What can I do to improve his height?

Your son has just entered into the growth phase of adolescence. At this age , the weight almost doubles and the height increases by 15 – 20 percent. This growth spurt comes earlier in girls so by the age of 11.5 years, girls attain almost 85 percent of their height. In boys the growth spurt starts later & peaks at 13.5 years of age. That’s why girls in sixth and seventh standard seem taller than boys.

Your son will achieve good height once he is around 13 years. As a parent, you can help him get a good height and growth by following certain rules for his nutritional intake. Give him regular meals – three large meals and two two snack breaks.

Do not encourage skipping of the meals. Provide healthy, nutritious food which is balanced  eg,. one meal should consist of lentils plus vegetables plus curd  plus salad, eaten with either rice / chapatti . Avoid  fast food and junk food, where  there is an imbalance of nutrition. Snacks should be either raw vegetables, fruits or homemade nutritious items.

Remember your son needs increased calories at this growing stage, just like how an infant needs more food as he grows. But intake of only nutritious calories should be the norm.


  1. shefali says:

    Good Article! πŸ˜€

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Similar Story

Under the scorching sun: Heat stress takes a toll on healthcare workers in Chennai

Despite experiencing heat-related health issues and high workloads, nurses in Chennai receive no support to brave extreme heat conditions.

On March 3rd, Primary Health Centres (PHC) in Chennai conducted the annual Pulse Polio Immunization campaign for children between the age group of 0-5 years. To ensure no child is missed, the Urban Health Nurses (UHN) made door-to-door visits on March 4 to administer polio drops.  While the initiative garnered praise from all quarters, the tireless efforts of health nurses who walked kilometres under the scorching sun, went unnoticed. On March 4, at 2.30 pm, Meenambakkam and Nungambakkam weather stations in Chennai recorded the maximum temperature of 32.2 degrees C and 31.4 degrees C. However, as the humidity levels were…

Similar Story

Delayed upgradation of hospitals in Mumbai’s suburbs; patients rely on private care

Despite having allocated funds to upgrade suburban civic hospitals, BMC has not been able to redevelop them on time.

When Sangeeta Kharat noticed a lump near her neck, she sought treatment at MT Agarwal Municipal Hospital, Mulund, near her residence. Doctors diagnosed her with thyroid nodules, an abnormal growth of cells on the thyroid gland, and referred her to Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Corporation Hospital at Sion for further treatment. Sangeeta's son, Rajan, initially opted for treatment at Sion Hospital. However, due to the distance and frequency of trips with his job, they decided to switch to a nearby private hospital despite higher costs. Rajan said, " If the MT Agarwal super-speciality hospital had been available, we wouldn't have needed…