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Checkups at 13 Years

[13 Year Old Quiz]

What Can Your Child Do at Thirteen?

  • He may be concerned about the changes his body is going through. If he has not entered puberty, he is probably only a "late bloomer."
  • She may seem distant and unconcerned about what you say. But what you say is still important to her. Be quick to praise, slow to anger, and constantly reassuring about her positive qualities.
  • Acne is primarily caused by inherited tendencies. Diet has no effect on his acne. However, makeup, hair spray, and other creams may adversely affect the skin and worsen acne. Teenage periods may be quite painful to your daughter. Ibuprofen (Motrin or Advil) is a great drug for reducing the pain of menstrual cramps, but should be started as soon as or even just before her period begins to have the best effect.
  • Periods are often irregular for the first 2 years.

What Can Your Child Eat?

  • Moderate exercise 3-4 times a week will help him control his weight.
  • If your daughter has started her periods, she should take extra iron in her diet or in vitamins.
  • Daily brushing and flossing of her teeth will prevent decay and gum disease. Flossing is the more important of the two.
  • He should have a balanced diet and should eat breakfast before school. Your example of how to eat will be important since he will have the money and freedom to eat at friends' homes or at convenience stores.
  • Discourage her frequent snacking other than with fruits or vegetables. Do not add extra salt to her diet. She should not have red meat and eggs daily.
  • Increase his intake of fiber in cereals, whole-grain breads, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Give her a multivitamin with iron each day if she is a picky eater. Milk or other calcium-containing foods are important in the teen years to prevent later osteoporosis (thin bones).


The following immunizations are combined into one injection and may be given about the 13-14th year:

  • Diphtheria- a respiratory and heart disease that used to kill thousands every year.
  • Tetanus- a bacterial infection of dirty wounds that can be life-threatening.

Tests to Be Done

  • He should have an analysis of his urine. This checks for kidney disease, diabetes, and bladder infections.
  • She should have a hematocrit if she has begun her periods since heavy periods can cause anemia.
  • A tuberculin (TB) skin test may be needed if he has been exposed to someone with TB, a chronic cough, IV drug use, HIV disease (AIDS), recent prison time, time in a developing country, or if required by his school or insurance.

Accident Prevention

  • Risk-taking is a common problem among teens, especially boys who are asserting their masculinity. Teens need to have strict limits set on use of firearms, pellet guns, electrical equipment, and power tools. Be quick to take away privileges if she misuses these in any way.
  • Always know where your teen is. He may complain that you don't trust him, but if you state the request with genuine concern about his welfare, he probably will accept this rule.
  • One of the best ways to limit problems with drugs, pregnancy, suicide, or school failure is to communicate with your teen with respect and compassion now.
  • Sports should be closely monitored especially if she is trying to compete with older teens.
  • He needs to know a safety plan to get out of his home in case of fire.
  • Teach her to avoid crossing fast-moving streams, jumping in lakes head first, or going boating without wearing a life jacket.
  • Make him wear a safety helmet at all times while riding a bicycle or motorized vehicle.

Emotional and Social Development

  • She needs some freedom and privacy to learn about life. Her property and "confessions" to you should be respected and kept confidential.
  • He may try to shock you with new ideas and desires. Never attack him personally even if you strongly disagree with some of his ideas. Research shows that eventually most teenagers will live very similar lives as their parents.
  • A full life includes good academics, time with family and friends, hobbies and crafts, compassion towards the less fortunate, and positive spiritual involvement. Encourage her to have each of these in her life. Praise her for her strong points so as to encourage her and increase her confidence.
  • Peer comparisons are important to him. Be sympathetic, but not necessarily in agreement, with his desire to dress and do the activities that his friends do.
  • Avoid criticizing her friends. She probably sees their faults almost as clearly as you do.
  • Encourage him to take some of the responsibility for planning and organizing hiking and camping trips, trips to museums or the zoo, athletic events, or other family activities.
  • She should know the basics of sexuality, drugs, and alcohol and you should be open to discuss these concerns.
  • If you use drugs, alcohol or tobacco in excess, your child is more likely to use drugs himself.
  • She should not date until 15- or 16-years-old (double dating is preferable initially) because the earlier she dates, the greater the likelihood for unwed pregnancy. Encourage well-supervised activities with large groups of boys and girls in church or school events.
  • He should continue to do chores around the home. A weekly allowance will help him to develop money sense.
  • Extensive television or video games limit family interaction and discourage her creativity.
  • Be involved with schoolwork as much as possible. Involvement with the PTA will give you some say in how he is taught. If you are not happy about his school, by law, you can be granted a conference with the teacher, principal, and school counselors.
  • Make every effort to attend athletic events, plays, recitals, and other special occasions that occur in her life. Few things you do for her will be so important.

Moral Development of Your Child

  • Teenage pregnancy is not the result of a lack of knowledge about contraception. Irresponsible sex on TV, movies, and printed material and sometimes young adults taking advantage of young teenagers largely cause the problem. Do not be afraid to tell him that sex should be delayed until marriage. Studies show that if you encourage him to wait he will likely delay sexual activity.
  • Provide healthy environments for young teens of both sexes to be together such as family get-togethers, church meetings, or athletic events.
  • Your positive example will help her to adopt similar values as you yourself hold.
  • He may be confused by differences between your values and what he views in others, hears on the radio, or sees on the TV and in movies. Discuss these differences frankly with him while teaching him right and wrong.
  • Children learn more from your example than from what you say. If you smoke and drink often, divorce easily, or have sex with many partners, she will likely do these when she is older.
  • Actively set limits on the amount and type of TV programs and movies watched. Teach him to look critically at movies and television programs.
  • About 80-90% of the sex shown on TV is premarital, extramarital, or violent, and most of the marital sex is shown as unenjoyable. Unwed pregnancies, diseases, or divorces are seldom mentioned. Teach your child how unrealistic all of this is.
  • Violence as shown in movies and television is usually self-serving or vengeful. If you do not want her to think of violence as acceptable behavior when she is angry or selfish, you need to limit her exposure to that philosophy.
  • It is philosophically difficult to maintain firm moral standards without some form of religious instruction. Traditional Christianity and Judaism place value on the individual, the healthy family, and compassion towards others. The media and most other world views emphasize selfishness, irresponsible lives, and hunger for possessions. This is one of the main reasons so many children, teenagers, and young adults are confused and in trouble.
  • Provide him with religious instruction. Otherwise his values will be shaped by others with whom you may not agree. One of the greatest gifts you can give your child is to join a traditional Christian church or Jewish synagogue that has a good high school program.


Height ________ percentile ________

Weight ________ percentile ________

Head Circumference __________ percentile ________



These questions, based on research, are meant to teach parents and teenagers facts that will help him or her have a fuller life.

  1. Reading a fun book is not as good for your schooling as an educational TV show (True or False).
  2. Cigarettes cause your clothes and hair to smell bad, give you more colds, give you a morning cough, and will stain your teeth over time (True or False).
  3. Teenagers who are on drugs often get in trouble with the police from stealing or doing other illegal things to get money to pay for their drugs (True or False).
  4. Teenagers who are having sex usually make better grades in school and are happier (True or False).
  5. Teenagers who catch diseases when they have sex have the same chance of having permanent changes in their body such as scarring and sterility as young adults in their twenties (True or False).
  6. The only disease that can kill you if you have sex is AIDS (True or False).
  7. Teenage girls who are not married when they have a baby are less likely to ever get married (True or False).
  8. Staying married to the same person for a lifetime tends to help you be happier, sick less often, and live longer (True or False).
  9. When parents divorce, the children may be sad for a while, but then they usually do fine (True or False).
  10. When a girl agrees to have sex with her boyfriend, the relationship often ends soon afterwards (True or False).
  11. The most common drug used by teenagers is alcohol (True or False).
  12. When a man and a woman live together before getting married, it helps them to have a better marriage (True of False).
  13. People who get divorced often are very sad and drink or use drugs more often than nondivorced people (True or False).

Answers and Explanations to Questions

1. False. Actually, reading of any sort develops the most basic skill of learning and is more beneficial in the long run than watching an educational television show. 2. True. These are a few of the short-term problems with smoking. Obviously, more serious problems occur over the next few decades including lung cancer, mouth cancer, high blood pressure, and heart disease, and many, many more problems. 3. True. The drug habit is a very expensive one that requires illegal money from somewhere, including stealing from parents, drug selling, selling sexual favors, or burglary. 4. False. Sexually active teenagers actually make poorer grades, are more likely to be involved in drugs or alcohol, and be depressed than teenagers who are waiting on sexual activity. 5. False. Teenagers, especially teenage girls, have 2-3 times the chance of scarring and sterility or tubal pregnancies later in life compared to young adults who acquire a sexual disease.  6. False. Hepatitis B kills thousands every year from hepatitis and liver cancer. Human papillomavirus causes cancer of the genitals and uterus. Herpes can kill newborn babies if the mother is infected. 7. True. Unwed pregnancies and dropping out of school lower the chances of a girl ever marrying. 8. True. People who are married to the same person live longer, usually are healthier, and are less likely to be depressed. 9. False. Children from divorced families have many problems at a higher rate for decades, including poorer health, mental health, schooling, and relationships. 10. True. Many times once sex begins, it becomes the focus of the relationship and other aspects of the couple's life together are neglected leading to breakups. 11. True. Although if you count tobacco as a drug, then both of these are very common. 12. False. People who live together before marrying are much more likely to split before marriage, divorce if they ever do get married, and not be faithful to their partner compared to married couples. 13. True. Divorce causes many problems, including shorter life, more drug and alcohol problems, depression, and suicide plus many more.



The information contained within this website is no substitution for timely medical care.

Feel free to copy the information on this web site and give to friends and family. Contact Dr. Glenn Wood at Carousel Pediatrics (512) 744-6000
We are located at 7112 Ed Bluestein Blvd., #100 - Austin, TX 78723

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