Written by Vanessa Van Petten
You might be surprised what keeps your teen up at night. In our teen forums at RadicalParenting.com we asked, “What are the body issues that worry you the most?” Answers flooded in and teens shared their most embarrassing health and body issues. Parents can help teens understand what is happening to their body and let them know that they don’t need to be embarrassed. Many teens shared that what stressed them out the most was talking to their parents and asking for help in solving these pesky health issues. Here are the top five things that teens are embarrassed to talk to parents about, plus a few ideas on how to solve them. 1). Body Odor: Teens are uncertain when to start using deodorant, how often to apply it and how to select a product from all the available options. Solutions: Take your teen to the grocery store and explain the different types of deodorants and how they work. Let her explore scents on her own. Buy a few sticks for the bathroom, bedroom, gym bag and backpack. Teens told us that they also want more help on the daily application routine—many have no idea how often deodorant is needed. 2). Acne: Pimples, acnes and zits are one of teens' top stress areas as they don't know if they should be using acne products, how to deal with a pimple or how to come up with a skin-care regimen. Solutions: Start your teen with a simple daily routine that use just a few products, like the Clean & Clear Essentials collection. Getting him in the habit of washing and moisturizing his face will get him started on the right foot. And don’t forget to stock his backpack with an emergency zit cream (Clean & Clear Advantage Acne Spot Treatment is a good one)—breakouts always happen at the most inconvenient times! 3). Menstruation: Many girls feel underprepared when they first get their period. As adults, we forget how daunting that time of life can be. Girls told us that they want to know what to expect from their first period and are overwhelmed by the wide variety of menstrual products available. Solutions: Whether your daughter has gotten her first period or not, it is important to check in and address any questions that might have popped up. For example, many teen girls are concerned about how their period will affect their participation in sports and on athletic teams. Also, go to the drugstore or supermarket with your daughter so you can explain the differences between brands and products. 4). Dandruff: Dandruff is one of the topics teens feel most embarrassed talking to parents and friends about. They not only worry about how to handle dandruff but also if they should hide their dandruff shampoo under the sink instead of keeping it in the shower where friends might see it! Solutions: Explain to your teen that dandruff is an irritating but completely normal problem. Go through the different reasons dandruff could be a problem—seasonal changes, new shampoo, stress—and try some over-the-counter products. If necessary, you can take your teen to a dermatologist to address the issue. 5). Breath Odor: When teens start thinking about having their first kiss, they also start thinking about bad breath. And let’s be honest—even if you aren’t planning on kissing someone, bad breath is awful for any kind of relationship! Solutions: Bad breath can be tackled a number of ways—and you want to arm your teen with all of the tactics. First, talk to your child about proper dental hygiene—thorough flossing and brushing is the best method to tackle bad breath. Second, equip your teen with bad-breath-combating tools like mouthwash, gum, mints and breath sheets for the backpack and gym bag. Be sure to keep communication lines open so that your teen feels comfortable sharing his or her worries with you. That way, you can help if any other issues arise. Most important, make sure your teen knows that these issues are completely normal and there is no reason to be embarrassed. Vanessa Van Petten is the nation’s only youthologist—following youth trends to help teens, parents and families. Vanessa’s unique approach has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, CNN and Teen Vogue, and she is a two-time winner of the Mom’s Choice Award. Her books can be found at her popular parenting website RadicalParenting.com.