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  • Kind of love this one:

  • My teen purposely pushes my buttons.

  • Your teen is not consciously pushing your buttons.

  • Playing certain sports can make your teen grow taller.

  • If there were a sport like that,

  • everyone would probably be doing that sport.

  • Parents shouldn't talk to their kids about sex.

  • Children have riskier behavior

  • when they don't talk to their parents

  • about sex and sexuality. It's not the reverse.

  • Hi, I'm Dr. Blair Hammond, general pediatrician

  • at Mount Sinai Hospital, where I've been for 18 years.

  • I'm also the cofounding director

  • and director of medical education

  • of the Mount Sinai Parenting Center.

  • Hi, I'm Dr. Aliza Pressman,

  • I'm a developmental psychologist.

  • I'm an assistant clinical professor at Mount Sinai Hospital

  • and the other cofounder

  • of the Mount Sinai Parenting Center.

  • I'm also the host of the podcast Raising Good Humans.

  • Today, we'll be debunking myths about parenting teens.

  • And we're both parents of teens.

  • Yes.

  • Adolescence starts at 13 and ends at 18.

  • This is a myth.

  • It feels very comfortable to keep adolescents

  • in a small window.

  • Puberty can start as early as 8 or 9.

  • It doesn't just end at 18

  • where their prefrontal cortex is at full growth

  • and they're ready to go out into the world.

  • They still are experiencing changes into their 20s.

  • And this prefrontal cortex that we talk about

  • is this area right in the front part of the brain

  • that's involved with judgment, inhibition, even morality.

  • It's important to remember

  • that adolescence is a time of tremendous growth. In fact,

  • it's the second largest brain growth period

  • after that first 0-to-3 period.

  • All teenagers are risk-takers

  • who want to try drugs and alcohol.

  • This is not true.

  • Certainly, adolescence is a risk-taking time, as we know,

  • and it's a time of experimenting.

  • But many adolescents do not try alcohol or drugs.

  • One thing that happens in adolescents

  • is they are more all gas and no brakes,

  • and so it can mean that their impulse control

  • isn't mature enough to make decisions,

  • particularly with groups of other adolescents.

  • And the other thing to remember

  • is that the teenage brain hyper-rationalizes,

  • so their tendency is to look at the positive outcome.

  • So if you're going to get into a car,

  • and you've been with people who are drinking

  • or you've been drinking,

  • an adolescent brain that's hyper-rationalizing is going to say,

  • "There's only a 10% chance that something bad will happen."

  • What you want them to do is move to just thinking,

  • the bigger picture, what does that 10% look like?

  • And is that what I want for another human being or me

  • putting their life at danger, putting my life at danger.

  • And of course the answer is no.

  • Strict parents raise well-behaved children.

  • If we could change this

  • to strict parents sometimes raise well-behaved children

  • in front of them,

  • that would be the only way this would be true.

  • Strict, controlling parents may have kids

  • who seem like they behave,

  • but they have covert behaviors that are terrifying

  • because they are more scared of getting in trouble with you

  • than they are the actual danger.

  • If you have no boundaries and expectations,

  • you also can get kids who get into a lot of trouble

  • and make poor decisions.

  • Hammond: High expectations of children --

  • Pressman: Is great.

  • Hammond: Having boundaries, setting limits for your child

  • in a warm and sensitive way where you collaborate

  • and you're like,

  • "OK, does this seem reasonable?"

  • What's considered authoritative parenting,

  • you are less likely to have kids who act out

  • and misbehave in ways that are dangerous.

  • And I think that's what every parent

  • is trying to teach their child

  • to have that intrinsic motivation to make good choices

  • on their own.

  • Teens are addicted to social media.

  • For a lot of teens, it's not about addiction,

  • it's just about connection.

  • Addiction happens when you get rewards intermittently

  • and you keep seeking those rewards,

  • and you can't stop yourself

  • from wanting to seek those rewards.

  • And I think the word addiction is commonly used

  • when it interferes with a teen's ability to function

  • or to do other things they want to do.

  • That's when it becomes something

  • that you need to look at more seriously.

  • And then the other thing is,

  • remember, more than what you say,

  • what you do influences what your children do.

  • And so how can you make it something

  • that you both sort of learn together

  • and so it seems more of a discussion

  • and a collaborative decision about social media.

  • Playing certain sports can make your teen grow taller.

  • That is actually a myth.

  • If there were a sport like that,

  • everyone would probably be doing that sport.

  • So sports like volleyball and tennis

  • might give the appearance because it is helpful to be tall

  • in those sports,

  • but it is not the sport that has actually made them tall.

  • The No. 1 thing is actually genetics,

  • so looking at the height of each parent.

  • We talk about something called mid-parental height.

  • It is important to get good nutrition, adequate calories,

  • calcium, and vitamin D,

  • and also getting good sleep at night to help with growth.

  • I encouraged sports, but unfortunately,

  • the reason for encouraging sports

  • is not to make your child taller.

  • Playing video games will rot your teen's brain.

  • Mostly a myth.

  • So of course,

  • the research on video games and phones and social media

  • is tricky because there are a lot of confounding variables.

  • But for the most part,

  • the damage from video games that people talk about

  • are being sedentary,

  • that so much time sitting is very bad for kids.

  • And that violent video games

  • are connected with or associated with more aggressive behavior.

  • But actually only slightly.

  • Hammond: Teenagers do connect over video games,

  • which is something different than when we grew up

  • playing video games.

  • They now have these headsets,

  • and it's a way for them

  • to actually have social interactions.

  • Instead of thinking of video games as all bad,

  • try to understand them

  • and maybe even play them with your teen,

  • so that if that's something that they're into,

  • they can explain to you what's so exciting about it

  • and play it with you.

  • Teens don't need to take vitamins.

  • Hmm. I would say for some, this is a myth.

  • Some teenagers, they have very healthy diets,

  • and they get everything they need from their diets.

  • But there are a fair amount of teenagers

  • who are actually deficient, most commonly in vitamin D

  • and in iron, especially menstruating teens.

  • So iron is something you need for your red blood cells.

  • If you are bleeding every month,

  • you are using up red blood cells and needing more iron stores.

  • And it's also been shown recently

  • to help prevent inflammation.

  • Iron is often high in meats, green leafy vegetables,

  • but if your child is having heavy periods in particular,

  • that can make them at increased risk

  • for being iron-deficient, and in that case,

  • I would recommend a multivitamin.

  • My teen purposely pushes my buttons.

  • Pressman: Your teen is not consciously pushing your buttons.

  • They need to move away from their primary caregivers

  • and toward their peers.

  • That's part of the natural evolution of being a teen.

  • It hurts.

  • The other reason is to vent, and they need an outlet

  • and they need a place to just let go.