Stapleton Pediatrics Blog

Stapleton Pediatrics is Growing Up and So Are Our Patients

     I started at Stapleton Pediatrics nine years ago this summer. What is crazy to me, is that the four and ten year old kids who started seeing me then, are now 13 and 19 year old teenagers. As a result of this maturity, the “pediatric” exam room dynamics have changed. I have witnessed an exponential increase in the number of parent-teenager verbal altercations, I have had a few parents offended when asked to leave the room so I can talk with their teenager alone, and I’ve been surprised by the huge spectrum of issues my teenagers want to share with me. As a parent myself, I know it’s difficult to watch your children grow up, and I would like to let you know it’s also challenging as their pediatrician; I want them to be healthy, strong, and safe, and I also want them to make good decisions, which is not always the forte of a teenager. At the same time, I need to respect the autonomy that they so much crave at this age, and I want to empower them with knowledge so they may make health choices. Watching these amazing children grow into dynamic teens has been a learning experience for me and the other providers at our practice. It’s important for me to write this blog to make sure that all of you parents know we are on the same team. However, there are some important legal and logistical considerations of the pediatrician-teenager relationship that you should be aware of, as I don’t want any parent to be caught off guard. To follow are a few things you should understand about that relationship:
 
  1. Starting at twelve, we handout depression screens to your children.  If your teenager scores positive for depression, we encourage them to allow us to address this concern with you.  We educate your teenagers on the warning signs of depression, provide them with a list of resources for mental health, and address any questions, concerns, and fears they may have.
  2. At 13 years old, most providers in our practice will request to talk to your teenager alone. One purpose of this is to ask them about risky behavior that they or their friends may be exposed to like sex, drugs, and alcohol. While most 13 year olds are very uncomfortable with this conversation, the other purpose is to establish with them that they can talk with us confidentially about their health and safety.  
  3. Just like when they were babies, we still examine their bodies.  We make sure their stage in puberty is appropriate with their linear growth. We teach them the importance of knowing their bodies so they may potentially recognize an unhealthy change. 
  4. There are certain things your teenager can talk to a provider about that, without their expressed permission, remain confidential. Those things include any topic relating to mental and sexual health.  The main medical caveat is, if your teenager is a risk to them self or to another person, we have the legal authority to protect them. Understand, we always place their best interests, health, and safety first.
     I know it’s frustrating that your teenager may share details about their lives with us that we may not be able to share with you. I hope that you find comfort in knowing that we have seen your children for a long time, care about them as young adults, and try very hard to point them in the right direction. I always encourage teenagers to share the discussions we’ve had with you, as you continue to be their best support system. However, whether we like it or not, your teenagers are at a time in their lives when they crave the ability to make decisions for themselves, as they are starting to take control over the health of their bodies. I truly believe that by giving your teenagers options, education and respect, they will make good decisions; but, this is a learning process for all of us, parents, teenagers and providers alike, and there will be bumps in the road no matter how strong your family dynamic is.
 
     Below is a list of helpful websites recommended by our providers. As always we are available to discuss any concerns you may have regarding your teenager. - Dr Amy Nash

     -knowyourlemons.com (a website on what to look/feel for when doing a breast exam)
     -healthykids.org (has a teenager tab and addresses a wide array of topics)
     -teenshealth.org
     -teenhealthFx.org
     -girlshealth.gov
Posted: 7/16/2017 8:44:19 PM by Stapleton Peds | with 0 comments


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