Hey Parents: What Worries You?

4 min read  |  July 17, 2019  | 

Parents worry. It’s part of the job description. And this has driven many parents to consult Google for answers or guidance about teen behavior. Here are some of the most searched topics in South Florida.

Bullying and internet safety

In the past few years, there has been more focus on online teen behavior, particularly cyberbullying. Kids spend a lot of time online, so it makes sense that parents want to make sure they are using the Internet safely.

Psychiatrists at the University of Miami Health System conducted a study on social media and cyberbullying. The study suggested that some social media channels were more prone to incidents of cyberbullying than others. The researchers give tips on how to protect your child. Read more.


Some teens are perfectionists and overachievers, they put a lot of pressure on themselves to perform to a certain standard. Sometimes, the stress of wanting to get the best grades and win every game can affect their mental health.

This is seen in kids who are in high school and, according to Maria Echenique-Lopez, PsyD., in college, too. She is a clinical psychiatry expert at UHealth and coordinator of UM’s Interactive Screening Program (ISP), an online depression and anxiety screening program to prevent suicides. Dr. Echenique has suggestions for parents to help their children ease into college life. Read more.

Motor vehicle accidents

Worrying hits a whole new level once your child gets behind the wheel. There are many reasons why people get into accidents with texting while driving and intoxication at the top of the list. But, there may be one cause you did not consider.

Gwen Wurm, M.D., a specialist in developmental/behavioral pediatrics at UHeath, says that driving while drowsy can lead to car wrecks. It may not be entirely your teen’s fault, though, and there are ways to help them – and you – sleep better at night. Read more.

Unhealthy eating

There is an obesity epidemic in the United States. Research shows that being extremely overweight is a risk factor for many chronic illnesses, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. According to our nutrition experts, healthy eating habits start early, so it is one of the most important things you can teach your child.

However, most parents have battled with a picky eater. There are lots of things that you can do at the dinner table to make sure your family eats a balanced and nutritious meal. Read more.

Getting enough exercise

Just like it can be difficult to get your child to eat more vegetables, it can be a real challenge to get your child to spend less time in front of a screen. Whether it is a tablet, a phone, or a TV, children seem to gravitate towards devices. Getting exercise, however, is just as necessary for your child’s health as having good eating habits.

Physical activity can be something that your family does together. Think you’re too busy? Here are five ways to fit exercise into your schedule and make it fun. Read more.

School violence

It may not come as a surprise that this school safety concerns many South Florida parents. It is important that your child knows how to spot troubled teen behavior and what to do if someone at school is in trouble. Read more.

teen behaviorDepression

An increasing number of children report that they have persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness.  It is tough for parents to know how to talk to their child about those feelings.

Dr. Stefania Prendes-Alvarez, a youth psychiatry expert with UHealth, explains what depression signs to look for and what to do if you think your child is at risk. Learn more.

Drug abuse

As soon as your child is old enough to “just say no” to drugs, many parents start worrying that they’ll just say yes.

Communication is a key to protecting your child from drugs, says UHealth child psychiatry expert Dr. Nicole Mavrides. The suggestions in this post about raising a resilient teen is a great place to start. Read more.

Natasha Bright is a contributing writer for UMiami Health News.

Tags: adolescent psychiatry, Dr. Gwen Wurm, Dr. Marisa Echenique-Lopez, Dr. Stefania Prendes-Alvarez

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