This section provides resources to support teens through their common adolescent encounters with information on the following topics:
- Body Odor
- Common Skin Problems
- Emotional Development
- Healthy Relationships
- Self Esteem and Body Image
- Sexual Orientation
Check out the Teen Developmental Resources page for information on gender-specific development topics.
Even with good hygiene, body odor can be an unpleasant reality during the teen years. Most often noticed under the arms, body odor can also emerge from the feet, the hair, or the breath. Let your doctor know about these changes if you feel the sweat and odor is excessive; they will be able to help you find ways to prevent this from causing discomfort and embarrassment.
Common Skin Problems
Zits, pimples, acne, spots, warts… while these skin conditions are unpleasant, uncomfortable and sometimes painful, they often accompany the physical changes of puberty. Hormones and stress can be major contributors to outbreaks, but some cases can be helped with learning how to care for your skin, drinking more water, and modifications to your diet. Your doctor is a good resource for learning more and helping when these issues don’t resolve, as well as these websites:
Almost 1 in 3 teens experience bullying during school, either as a bully, target of bullying, or both. This can involve when someone is communicating in an intimidating or threatening manner, in-person or through electronic communication, also known as cyber-bullying. It is important to know that while bullying takes on many forms, you do not have to be alone through this experience. Tell a friend if you feel you are being bullied, or noticing someone else getting bullied, and speak to an adult about this. It might be difficult to start the conversation and there are several resources available:
The teenage years are not only about physical changes, but are a time when emotions can run high and change frequently. This means you might feel enraged one moment, blissful the next, sad and crying somewhere in between… And the craziest part about that is: Absolutely nothing. It is a completely normal part of development. When dealing with this rollercoaster of highs and lows, teens often feel alone and confused. There are ways to take control and gain support by learning how to talk to your parents or other adults when you need help, and finding strategies to help soothe yourself. Remember that your doctor is also there to listen to you and can suggest resources for managing stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns.
Gender identity refers to whether people think of themselves as males, females, or somewhere in-between (sometimes referred to as non-binary), which may not align with anatomy. Society has constructed rules for how boys and girls “should act, dress, behave like” which can make staying true to an identity and desire to transition feel overwhelming and difficult. The resources below contain more information about transgender and gender identities to think about before your next visit:
Self-Esteem and Body Image
Adolescence is a time when teens can feel overwhelmed by demanding academics, peer drama, emerging romantic relationships, and the expectations of family. Some teens become dissatisfied with the way their bodies look as they undergo so many changes, and media imagery may further contribute to unrealistic expectations. These pressures can make it easy for teens to be hard on themselves. Most teens say that ‘reducing self-critical thoughts’ is the most important way for building self-esteem. Your doctor, parent, or trusted adult can partner with you to identify ways to support feeling good about yourself, as you are.
The relationships built through teen years play an important part in developing into an adult, including family, friendships and romantic partnerships. It can feel good to find a partner who treats you with respect, honesty, and kindness, but it is sometimes a learning process to get there. When relationships gets more serious, sometimes controlling, abusive, and violent behaviors can escalate. If you do not feel safe and comfortable with your partner, these are warning signs to take action:
During adolescence, hormonal influences cause teens to become attracted to others who are of the opposite, the same, or both sexes. Sexual orientation is not something that is chosen, though one’s sexual orientation is not always clear during the teen years, and experimentation is common. The resources below explain what sexual orientation is and provide some things to consider when talking to your doctor about these issues:
Homosexuality: Facts for Teens