Too Old for Pediatrician?

July 4, 2011

It’s a question many of us don’t remember asking, but at some point in our lives, often when we’re eighteen and heading off to college, we make the transition from seeing a pediatrician to getting our health care from an adult doctor. As a parent, however, you have to help your teenager make that transition. Here are a few tips to help you do that:

– Make the switch as soon as your teenager expresses discomfort with the pediatrician or the pediatrician’s environment. This often happens around the age of 13. If your child has a good relationship with their pediatrician, at least make the switch before college. For girls, they may need to make this transition as soon as they have their first period.

– Ask your pediatrician for help. They won’t be offended, and they may be able to offer suggestions for family practitioners or internists who see patients under the age of eighteen.

Helping your teen transition away from their pediatrician is a vital step in raising a child, but there’s one more vital step for you: contact your health insurance company, and make sure they have all the necessary information for the new doctor.

– Help your teen prepare for their first visit to the “adult” doctor by making a list of questions they’d like to ask. Don’t read the list, just give suggestions.

– Encourage your teenager to be involved in decisions about their medical care. Until they turn eighteen, the ultimate decisions are yours, but their opinions should be considered.