Healthy Teens

The adolescent and teen years last from around age 12 to age 20. During this time, children are growing up. Most still need their parent's or caregiver's help. But many start to take control of their own health.

We have many ways to help adolescents and teenagers stay healthy:

  • Encouraging regular checkups with the doctor (Every adolescent and teen needs regular checkups, even if they seem healthy. )
  • Reminding about immunizations (shots) to prevent dangerous illnesses
  • Giving information about healthy eating and physical activity
  • Making sure you (or your adolescent or teen) gets the right care at the right time
  • Educating how to treat and live better with health problems

In this section of our website, you will find adolescent and teen health care basics and some resources you can visit to get more information. This website is not meant to take the place of your health care providers' advice.

The Teen Years – A Guide for Teens and Their Families

The teen years can be difficult for families. Teens are dealing with hormone changes and a more complex world.

Teens may feel no one understands their feelings, especially parents. They may feel angry, alone and confused. Teens may not know what to do about complicated issues like sex, violence, drinking and drugs.

Middle school and early high school

Children start to become more independent in middle school and the first few years of high school. At this stage, they start to test the limits of rules.

As they change physically, young teens may feel awkward or strange about themselves and their bodies.

Teens can usually express themselves and describe their feelings. Teens go through a lot of different emotions:

  • They can feel self-conscious.
  • They can be very moody.
  • They may become angry easily.
  • They can be sensitive to criticism.
  • They may blow simple events out of proportion.

As teens, children begin to see their parents as imperfect. They may show less affection to their parents. They may even be very rude.

Friends are very important to young teens. They model their behavior on their friends, and they may not like people who are different than their friends.

High school

In high school, teens start to learn how to solve real-life problems. They begin to set goals and use insight to make choices.

Personal dignity and self-esteem are important to older teens. They may want total freedom. But they really can't handle the responsibility. Some teens may leave home for a few days to experience more freedom.

Teens at this age may act childish one minute, and serious and grown-up the next. At this time, teens begin to show more empathy and concern for others. Friends are still important to older teens, but friendships are balanced with other interests.

As teens grow up, they may seem separate and uninvolved. Often, they see their parents as old fashioned and not "cool."

Late high school (18 +)

Young people over 18 may be adults, but they still have a lot of growing up to do.
At this age, they are facing big decisions about their future. They may be confused and frightened about what to do with their lives.

Older teens deal with many issues:

  • Tough moral and ethical questions
  • Concerns about their emotional health
  • Homesickness if they go away to college or join the military
  • Dating or beginning a long-term, close relationship – or maybe early marriage

Want more information about your teen and adolescent's growth and development? Here are some websites to visit:

Kid Central TN

The Governor's Children's Cabinet has launched a website that provides information on health, education, development and support to Tennessee families, as well as a searchable directory to locate State Services. You can also create your own private profile on the kidcentral tn site to receive information that matters to the specific needs of your own family, including exploring developmental milestones based on your child's age.

Visit to explore the site, Tennessee's one stop shop for information on health, education, development, and support. The site includes a comprehensive directory of state-operated and state-funded services for children and families.