If your teenager is complaining of colds, headaches, stomach aches and host of other complaints, do you find yourself wondering if he or she is becoming a hypochondriac?

Are you jumping to rash conclusions? The fact is that the unique stresses of adolescence can indeed, make some teens appear to be hypochondriacs.

The physical and life changes in teenagers cause stress and heightened body awareness, so aches and pains are more likely to be noticed.

While a teenager is struggling for independence, there are times when he or she needs to feel taken care of again. Being sick is an OK way in a teen’s mind to satisfy that craving inside for some loving care and attention.

Be aware of is that for teenagers, school and peers are more and more demanding. Illness can be a way for your teenager to get a "time-out" from these stresses.

A final avenue to explore is that changing feelings can be stressful and confusing. When they get bottled up, stress and stress-related symptoms occur.

For you to effectively help in a situation such as this it is important that you see your teenager’s pain as real, not imaginary, and encourage him or her to discuss the feelings behind the pain.

Reassure him that his physical and emotional changes are normal. Help him to find ways to cope with tough situations at school. Most importantly, let your teen know that you are there to listen and to help.

Mr. B