Acute pain: Effective parenting for teens

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Find out how you can use effective parenting to support the 3Ps of pain management for your teen with acute pain.

Key points

  • Encourage your teen's independence, in spite of any pain they are feeling, and ask them what helps them cope with pain.
  • Try not to let your worries or fears about your teen's pain affect your teen's wellbeing.
  • Support your teen in looking up credible sources of online information about pain management.

​The teenage years are a period of development that comes with unique challenges such as the desire for independence, figuring out one's identity, navigating the parent-teen relationship and dealing with the increased influence of peer relationships.

Respect your teen's growing independence

Take care to respect your teen's need for independence along with their need to be cared for because they are in pain. To start with, it is important to understand your teen's emotions and not discount or minimize the pain they feel.

Also do your best to ask your teen what does and does not help them cope with pain. For instance, you might offer your support for a painful procedure, but your teen might find a friend more comforting, depending on the situation.

Pay attention to your own emotions

Even though teens are on the way to adulthood, they are still influenced by your worry and fear, so it is also important to manage your emotions to help them feel safe and secure.

Help your teen identify trusted sources of online information

You can also support your teen by helping them come to informed decisions about pain management if they are doing their own research online. Work with your teen's health-care team if necessary to help your teen identify high quality, trusted sources of information. The American National Network of Libraries of Medicine offer easy-to-understand guidelines for parents and teens about how to judge the value of websites that discuss health information.

Last updated: January 25th 2019