As your child prepares to enter adolescence, you are fully responsible for your child’s health care. However by the end of adolescence, will be mature enough to take charge of his own health including seeing a doctor without a parent being present. Help him make this transition by:
Encouraging your child’s ‘health independence’
As your child begins her journey towards ‘health independence’, you need to feel confident that she has the necessary skills to manage her own health and wellbeing which takes time and practice.When your child sees a doctor without you present, it gives the doctor a better chance to assess your child’s physical and mental health as well as their general wellbeing. Your child’s GP will also have a better chance of finding out if your child has any emotional concerns or if he is being safe in terms of relationships and substance and alcohol abuse.
Figuring out when is the right time
During the early tween and teen years, it might be beneficial for your child to see the doctor alone for some part of the appointment and as they get older, your child will be more likely to be comfortable seeing the doctor for the whole appointment. What age should this start? After all, every child is different and while one 13-year-old might be comfortable seeing the doctor alone, another child might feel very stressed or anxious. Talk to her and see what she is comfortable with.
When doctors see a young adult alone, it doesn’t mean they think parents no longer matter but the confidentiality gives doctors an increased strategy to help young people talk openly.
Recent surveys also show they’re more likely to be honest with the doctor about what is worrying them, such as being bullied at school, relationships or substance abuse. They are more likely to ask questions about sensitive issues which will give the doctor a chance to offer guidance about potential future issues.