Doctors: Teen girls becoming more self destructive

Doctors are worried about an increase in disturbing trends among teen girls, and they're urging parents to get more involved
January 22, 2014 4:25:29 PM PST
Doctors say they're are noticing that more teens, especially girls, are engaging in high-risk behaviors, and often parents see what's going on but don't know what to do.

Kirby, 11, is so attached to her cell phone that it worries her mother. It's a common problem, and preteens at her middle school are facing greater problems.

"Bullying, peer pressure, kissing and making out in the halls. I don't think that's right ,especially in a school where the highest age is 14, or 13," the sixth grader said.

"We know that she's gonna be exposed to all that because that's what's out there. We just try to teach her what's right or wrong," her mother, Hanan Harpster, said.

As hard as it is, at least Kirby and her mother are talking. But that's not always the case, and doctors at Texas Children's Hospital are seeing so many girls in self-destructive behaviors that they're worried.

"Being at a party and trying something someone just gives them to try," said Dr. Jennifer Dietrich, a pediatric gynecologist with Texas Children's Hospital.

They see more teen girls drinking, trying drugs, being home schooled because of bullying, getting infections from body piercings. And there's the pressure to have sex.

"Some of the things that worry us the most are teens engaged in high-risk behaviors when they're not ready to make those decisions or understand the consequences," Dr. Dietrich said.

Red flags are withdrawal, trouble at school, or not wanting to go to school.

Experts suggest parents talk to your teen, or encourage her to talk to a doctor, counselor or friend; talk sooner rather than later; and give teens options and information before they are faced with a decision with lifelong consequences.

Preteens, teens and parents and can learn more at a program and luncheon sponsored by Texas Children's Hospital called Girls Elevated.

Find Christi on Facebook at ABC13-Christi Myers or on Twitter at @ChristiMyers13

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