Author: Dr. Monica Wonnacott


Most 16-17 year-olds are finished with puberty, have a good sense of self, and are seeking the approval, acceptance, and love of others at this age. Driving and independence are a major part of this age group. Parents often find this age a refreshing change from the emotional and dramatic times of the early teenage years. Many 16-17 year olds are starting to think about the future and life after high school. Safety Substance Use and Abuse: This topic must be addressed. It is not unreasonable to have the expectation that your adolescent should NOT use tobacco, drugs, alcohol,...

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Middle adolescence is a great time, filled with growth and maturity. Most girls at this age are nearing the end of puberty, while most boys are in the middle of the process. Peers and acceptance is the predominant focus of most 14 and 15 year olds. This is the age in which most teens are internalizing their moral values and deciding what really matters to them. Safety Substance Use and Abuse: This topic must be addressed. It is not unreasonable to have the expectation that your adolescent should NOT use tobacco, drugs, alcohol, inhalants, diet pills, etc. However, adolescents...

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Children need to learn boundaries and to be taught by their parents. Discipline is a form of teaching, but spanking or hitting children does not teach children what parents think it does. Well-meaning parents tell me all the time, “…but I don’t hurt my child,” or “…but it’s the only way to get my child’s attention,” or “… I was spanked and I turned out just fine.” While those parents may be right, spanking or hitting will ultimately result in a negative outcome. It is never the answer. In case you can’t tell, it is a topic that I...

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I am a big believer in allowing children to suffer the natural consequences of their actions or decisions as a method of discipline or teaching. In short, you are allowing your child to see what will happen if he or she misbehaves. You then can give a short explanation to teach and reinforce what happened as a consequence, but do not swoop in and fix it for your child. Here are a few examples: Your child throws a toy and it breaks. You respond by calmly and simply stating to your child, “You threw your toy and broke it,...

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The concept behind taking away privileges as a method of discipline is that you are taking away something that the child wants or will miss as a result of misbehaving. This is a method that can work very effectively in all age groups, if done right. There are a few pointers to making this an effective method of teaching. Follow through. Do not take away a privilege you are not willing to follow through on. For example, don’t tell your child that you are going to take away watching TV for the rest of the day and then allow...

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Dr. Monica Wonnacott

I'm a pediatrician and a mom. is my blog where parents can get the straight scoop on their child's health, largely based on my experience in the office and at home. I don't diagnose on the site, so please don't ask. These are just my opinions. Use this site as a resource. And trust your parent gut.

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