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Teenagers

The teen years (13 to 17 years of age) can be a turbulent time—as teens look to break free of parents, find their own identity, and fit in with their peers. Hemophilia can feel like a burden, so it’s key to help them stay responsible about their health even as they test new boundaries.

Testing limits and accepting more responsibility

You probably remember being a teenager – and testing the boundaries with your parents. Your child may do the same as they enter their teen years. Some may take more risks than others. There’s only so much you can do as a parent – if your kids test the limits, and push back, it’s something you’ll have to deal with together. What’s key is that taking responsibility for their health remains at the forefront of your child’s mind.

Teenagers with hemophilia usually start to make more of their own decisions regarding the activities they choose and their treatment. Peer pressure can be especially difficult for a teenager who feels ‘different’ because they have hemophilia. This may lead to more risk-prone decisions, such as participating in higher-risk sports, like football or rugby. As a parent, it’s important to have a frank discussion with your teen about the potential risks of the activity, and the protective measures (such as special equipment) needed. Together, you can make a decision that helps your teen grow and bond with their friends and minimize risks.

Supporting teens toward independence

As teens start to take more responsibility in managing their own care, one of the biggest areas of growth may be learning to self-infuse. This involves the technique itself, plus organizing appointments and follow-up and sticking to the treatment schedule.

As a parent, allowing your teenagers to start making their own decisions, and depend less on you, can be a difficult transition. It can be hard letting go. Again, having an open dialogue with your teen about what it means to manage your own care, and the consequences of not staying vigilant, is important. Also remind them that you’ll always be there for support, whenever they need it. As your teen starts taking on more responsibility, he’ll become more confident – which, in turn, will give you confidence that he’ll be ok.

For teenage patients

If you’re a teen with hemophilia, get information

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