Health Changes In Your Preteen You Need To Keep An Eye On

Health Changes In Your Preteen You Need To Keep An Eye On

Your child’s body is going through a lot of changes during their preteen and teenage years. In between all of the newfound teenage angst are a lot of health changes you need to keep an eye out for. And it’s not just acne.

It’s been a while since we’ve been teens ourselves, and we may not remember just how many hormones are flowing during this time and how much our body changes during puberty. As a parent, you need to be aware of these changes. You may have to intervene in some of the changes more than others (hello, braces), but it’s also important to just be aware that your kid is going through a lot right now. Here are six health changes your preteen will be traversing in the coming years. Good luck. 


Teeth Changes

Your child’s teeth are constantly moving. As a kid, they were always falling out to make way for the permanent ones. As a preteen, they’re still moving—constantly shifting, overlapping, and becoming more and more crooked. If they’re not corrected, those misalignments could cause some serious jaw, gum, and oral health issues. Braces are a common (if annoying) part of being a preteen. And while your kid may complain about it, they’ll be thankful for straight and healthy teeth later on. 

If your kid needs braces, be prepared to hand over a lot of money (up to $10,000) and for your preteen to put up a fuss. Thankfully, dental tech has come a long way in the past few years—many orthodontists offer clear braces or Invisalign. Your child will most likely have to wear a mouthguard at night once the braces are off as part of their braces aftercare routine, but it will be worth it to keep their teeth perfect.

Eyesight Changes

Not everyone is blessed with perfect 20/20 vision—and most people will need some type of eyesight help at some point in their lives. Most vision issues are caught early on since an eye checkup is part of a doctor’s yearly check-up.  But as a parent, you should still keep an eye out for any signs that your child may be struggling with their vision. 

Eyesight Changes

If your child is struggling to see the whiteboard in school or is complaining about frequent headaches, it’s probably time to visit an eyesight specialist like an optometrist or ophthalmologist. An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor who specializes in examining, diagnosing, and treating eyes and eye disease. If there’s a developing underlying medical issue behind your child’s poor eyesight instead of simple bad vision, they’ll be able to treat it before it gets worse. 

Growing Pains

Most children go through growth spurts during this time of their lives. If your preteen is having growing pains, your first reaction may just write off their pain since “everyone goes through it”. But sometimes, those growing pains may be a symptom of a bigger problem.

Since children grow so quickly, sometimes their spine doesn’t form perfectly straight as it should. Scoliosis is characterized by a painful curvature in the spine and can change how your child’s ribs or shoulders line up. Most pediatricians catch it early on during their routine checkups, but it could become a serious problem during their preteens if it’s gone unnoticed. If you suspect their growing pains could actually be scoliosis, go to a physiotherapist. It may require some physical therapy or surgery to fix, but it’s important to fix it early on. 

Period Pain

If you are raising a young girl, you’re going to have to help them learn about periods and how to handle them every month. Menstrual cycles usually start for females during their preteens. Often, there’s a lot of abdominal pain (cramping) and back pain during this time of the month. This can often be alleviated with over-the-counter pain medications and heating pads. 

Still, the pain during some women’s menstrual cycles can be extreme, and may need prescription pain medication. As a parent, it’s important you take your child’s menstrual pain seriously. If they’re in a lot of pain during their period, consult a doctor to make sure their pain is taken care of and to see if the pain is part of a larger medical problem.

Mental Health

Your child’s brain is going through just as much of a rollercoaster as their body is during puberty. Depression and anxiety are surprisingly common mental health issues that can start to pop up during your child’s preteen years—they should be taken just as seriously as physical health issues. 

If you think your child is struggling with stress, anxiety, or depression, there are a lot of ways you can get them the support they need. Have an open conversation with your child about what they’re struggling with or consider letting them talk to a therapist. A therapist may also suggest medication that could help. The worst thing you can do for your preteen is pretend that everything is ok—the taboo around mental health will only make them feel more alone and unwilling to ask for the help they need. 

Sexual Health

Whether you like it or not, your child is growing up. And that means they’re probably going to start having sex. Even though “the talk” can be uncomfortable, it’s important to have an open dialogue with your child or preteen about sexual health. Educating your kid about important sexual health topics like pregnancy, STIs, condoms, and birth control, and consent can encourage them to be safe if and when they have the experience themselves.

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Article Author Details

Molly Edwards