Chronically ill adolescents have some special problems, and some concerns that are common to all teens. To help them cope on both levels, experts in their care offer the following tips:
*To foster independence:
"We try to encourage kids at 14 or 15 to make their own appointments, to be responsible for their own medications, to come . . . see the doctor without the parent in the room," says Dr. Marianne Felice, director of adolescent medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center.
*To provide emotional support:
"Telling the child, 'Keep a stiff upper lip,' and 'Let's move forward,' and 'Be cheerful' or 'Think positive,'isn't support; that's shutting him up, cutting him off in a way that only seems positive." warns Dr. Leon Rosenberg, psychologist in the Hopkins Children's Center.