Healthy Teens by Dr. Marks

Healthy Teens, Body and Soul:
A Parent’s Complete Guide to Adolescent Health

By Dr. Andrea Marks MD and Betty Rothbart, MSW. Published by Simon & Schuster, 2003

In this confident, comprehensive guide, the authors urge parents to “health-partner” with their adolescent children, to help them grow mentally, physically and emotionally. The adolescent years need not be fraught with conflict, say Marks, a specialist in adolescent medicine, and Rothbart, a social worker; on the contrary, these years of “transformation and discovery” can be magical. Armed with this optimistic but not unrealistic conviction, they chart the three stages of adolescence (ages 10-14, 15-18, 18-21) and the three main tasks that must be accomplished in each stage (teens must gain independence, clarify sexual identity, and find their place in the world).

Through the lens of these tasks, the authors then focus primarily on the physical teen: the importance of proper food and rest, common health problems, gender-specific body issues, teen sexuality and substance abuse. For parents who can’t already talk with their teens about touchy issues, this probably isn’t the ideal book; the authors cover too much ground to sufficiently coach the floundering parent. But parents who need encouragement will find it here, as well as an abundance of practical information and frank discussions on topics such as stress, chronic health problems, masturbation and peer pressure. The next best thing to having a doctor on call for those 11 years of adolescence, this guide shows its authors’ honesty and expertise on every page.

From Publishers Weekly, 2002

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