Helicopter Parents: Let Your Teen See the Doc Alone

Helicopter parent. I admit it.  Though it's morel like kamikaze, in my case.

But a new study has alleviated my stress a little.  I let my teenager go in with the doctor alone on annual visits, unlike many other parents.

Just 34 percent of parents say their teen discussed health concerns privately with a doctor without them in the room, and less than 10 percent say their teens can complete their health history form independently.

Although I shouldn't congratulate myself too much.  I'm very lucky, my son is healthy and doesn't have any health concerns at this time.  But I do go in first with him and answer the doctor's questions about his general health, though I'm letting up a little on that, too.
“The majority of parents are managing teens’ health care visits, and their teens may be missing out on valuable opportunities to learn how to take ownership of their own health,” newswise.com quotes Sarah J. Clark, M.P.H., associate director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health.

“Having teens take the lead in responsibilities like filling out their own paperwork, describing their health problems, and asking questions during adolescence helps them gain experience and confidence in managing their health. Speaking with the doctor privately is important, not only to give teens a chance to disclose confidential information, but also to provide the opportunity for them to be an active participant in their own health care, without a parent taking over.”

Nearly 40 percent of parents say that they alone – not their teen – would ask questions about health issues. Only 15 percent of parents say their teen would independently share physical or emotional problems with the doctor.

As for my son, he probably doesn't share health concerns with his doctor, if I'm any example.  (He shares nothing with me, these days!)
“Parents’ top reason for handling different aspects of the health care visit is that their teen would not be comfortable talking about these subjects – which may stem from the fact that they aren’t getting much practice,” says Clark

“Parents are naturally concerned about their child’s health and that transition to letting their teens become independent in the health setting can be difficult,” Clark adds. “But with parents’ guidance, these early opportunities will help teens prepare to navigate the health care system and take responsibility for their own health as they get older.”


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