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December 9, 2011
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Pediatrician pens road map for healthy teens

SYRACUSE, N.Y.— Dying to be Perfect: How Teens Can Stay Happy, Healthy and Alive is a call to arms to combat the powerful societal pressures that threaten the health and well being of young people today

More than just a survival guide for teens and their parents, Dying to be Perfect: How Teens Can Stay Happy, Healthy and Alive (Author House) is a new book by physician and father Robert Michael Cavanaugh, Jr., MD, of Upstate Medical University. His book is a call to arms to combat the powerful societal pressures that threaten the health and well being of young people today.

Utilizing the three stages of space flight as a metaphor for the stages of adolescence, Dying to be Perfect takes readers on an imaginary voyage into the mind of an adolescent.

“It is often not fully appreciated that the brains of young adults are also going through dramatic changes, just like the physical changes in their bodies,” writes Cavanaugh. “As with puberty, the maturing of the adolescent mind can be divided into three stages—early, middle, and late—each of which is quite different from the other. Teenagers should not be expected to think like adults until this process of development is complete. It must be expected that adolescents will respond to the pressures of daily living in a unique and personal way, which is highly influenced by the stage of mental growth they have reached.”

By explaining the hazards and temptations of each stage, Cavanaugh prepares teens and their parents for the journey ahead. The mission of this journey will be to return adolescent voyagers back safely, as happy, healthy adults. Cavanaugh has used this metaphor with success in his practice for many years. Teens have much in common with astronauts, including the need to keep open channels of communication and stay connected to the home base for the best chance of avoiding accidents and completing the mission successfully.

Cavanaugh hopes that Dying to be Perfect will serve as a powerful signal to cut through the smog and pollution of a culture in decay to revive the spirits and lives of adolescents today, giving them a chance to take flight as happy, healthy individuals.

Cavanaugh is a professor of pediatrics at Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, where he has been the director of adolescent medicine for the past 30 years. He is a board-certified pediatrician with a sub-board certification as an adolescent medicine specialist. Cavanaugh is widely published in prestigious pediatric and adolescent journals. He and his wife of 42 years, Marilyn, have four children.

Listen to Cavanaugh discuss his book: http://media.upstate.edu:81/pod_content/hloa/11-6-11-I1.mp3

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