Disclosure: Unity Consortium is a client of Influence Central.
As the mother of two daughters (one in college and one in high school), I feel like I’ve lived through it all: raising teens in the age of social media, the ups and downs of life in competitive sports, tween and teen friendships (the good, the bad, and the ugly), and frank talks about crushes, sex, and love.
Before I became a parent, I knew I wanted to have a very honest, open relationship with my kids. I view my job as their parent to love them unconditionally, encourage them to become who they were meant to be, and raise them into happy, independent adults, armed with the reasoning and critical thinking needed to make decisions that are right for them.
I try to lead by example, letting them in on my decision process and why I make the choices I do. I hope that when they see me being charitable, hospitable, responsible, and proactive about my health, that they will understand why I make the choices I do and follow suit.
I want them to know their health is in their hands, and to not to take that responsibility lightly. We discuss how small things now can become big things later if not taken care of promptly, and how just because something is an option doesn’t mean it’s not necessary.
For this reason, when we make our annual visit to our family doctor and the subject of vaccinations is brought up, we do our research, and then – armed with the facts – we discuss the pros and cons.
When I visited Unity Consortium (a not-for-profit organization helping create awareness for teen preventive health and immunization), I was shocked to learn that more than a third of teens today don’t understand how vaccinations can help them, but the stat made sense to me when I also saw that 47% of them would prefer not to talk to doctors or healthcare providers at all. And if my own teens are any indication of the larger population, it’s likely for fear of being embarrassed!
I don’t know why parents are so diligent in tracking our children’s growth, health, and immunization schedules like clockwork while they’re young, but that once they’re in their teens, 4 in 10 of us believe they should only see a healthcare provider if they’re sick or hurt!
In fact, yearly visits are a critical part of preventive health, especially at 11-12 and 16-years of age when teens should receive the recommended vaccinations. These include protection against meningococcal, HPV, flu, tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, which prove so important when it comes to keeping kids healthy and strong.
Unity Consortium addresses the challenges surrounding adolescent and young adult health, with a goal of ensuring 9 in 10 of our kids are fully vaccinated against preventable diseases! A handy infographic Unity Consortium put together containing compelling survey results and facts can be found here. For more information to help you have these discussions with your kids, and for links to tools they can use, visit Unity Consortium.