Adolescence is a time where your pre-teen/teen will experience significant transitions in their physical, emotional, and social development. Ultimately, every parent desires to help their child through this journey in a manner that is reassuring and nurturing. Figuring out the delicate balance of allowing independence while being an authoritative resource can prove to be challenging for most parents.
Early adolescence is a great opportunity for your child to grow in their comfort level and embrace the role he/she must play in communicating healthcare needs to their doctor. Teen health encounters are designed to promote this type of growth over time. Routinely, the initial portion of the visit is spent with the parent present in the room, followed by time speaking with and examining your adolescent. Finally, the visit is concluded with parent reunification for a review of the plan of care.
Apart from the evaluation of your child’s physical growth and development, the adolescent visit addresses topics such as mental health needs, social relationships, screening for high-risk behaviors, safety practices, lifestyle habits, and sexual health. The visit also emphasizes the importance of fostering healthy relationships through risk-reduction and helping your teen understand the value of confiding in trusted adults for advice.
Establishing trust is a major component of adolescent care. If your child feels that he/she can confide in their pediatrician, then it enhances the care that can be delivered. To that end, sensitive information discussed during healthcare visits must remain confidential. Rest assured that in the event that a child reports harming themselves or is being harmed by another, confidentiality does not apply; this information will be immediately shared with the parent or caregiver.