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3 Signs Your Kid Is Too Old for the Pediatrician

Posted by on Feb. 4, 2015 at 12:42 PM
  • 9 Replies

3 Signs Your Kid Is Too Old for the Pediatrician

Babies see a pediatrician. Adults visit an internist. And tweens and teens go to ... um, wait. Where do they go? There comes a time when it feels plain awkward to ask your kid to endure an Elmo video and flip through a Highlights magazine for half an hour just to get a flu shot.

In fact, "most pediatricians are trained to take care of children up until the age of 21," says Neville Golden, MD, chief of adolescent medicine at Lucille Packard Children's Hospital Stanford in Palo Alto, California, "but some don't make their office teen-friendly or feel comfortable with teenage patients."

Here, the three red flags that mean you need to find your adolescent a different doctor.

1. Your pediatrician's office is geared more toward toddlers than teens.

This in and of itself should not be a deal breaker. But sometimes, you can get a sense of how well or often your pediatrician deals with adolescents simply by looking around their office, says Golden. "Do they only have toys in the waiting room or do they have videos, posters, and brochures teens would be interested in?"

2. Your pediatrician doesn't acknowledge that your kid is growing up.

Most doctors start to treat kids differently at around age 12 or 13, says Golden. For instance, they may politely ask you to leave the exam room so they can spend most of the appointment time with your child. And they should broach sensitive topics like drugs, sexuality, depression, and anxiety. That might seem awfully early, but "by age 14 or 15, these issues might very well come up," Golden explains. "We want kids to know they have a safe place to discuss them."

3. Your kid hates going for an appointment.

It's one thing if your tween or teen complains about going to the pediatrician because, hey, they low-grade complain about everything. It's another if they bring up a valid point -- "The doctor treats me like a baby," for instance, or "He never listens to me!" 

You shouldn't feel shy about coming right out and asking your family doctor how many adolescents he sees or how he treats them differently. If he admits that he doesn't, or it's not his area of expertise, look for another pediatrician or an adolescent medicine specialist in your area.

"You can simply tell your child, 'Now that you're getting to be a teenager, issues may come up that you're more comfortable discussing with a different doctor,'" Golden says.

Does your pediatrician have a good rapport with teens?


Image ยฉ iStock.com/mediaphotos

by on Feb. 4, 2015 at 12:42 PM
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Replies (1-9):
atlmom2
by Susie on Feb. 4, 2015 at 1:13 PM

Mine went through 19 and had zero issue.  I mean they only went if they were sick and that was rare.  

TranquilMind
by Bronze Member on Feb. 4, 2015 at 1:24 PM
This is why Family doctors are far superior. Not to mention the advantage that the doctor actually knows the entire family and the health histories of all.
atlmom2
by Susie on Feb. 4, 2015 at 1:31 PM

We all picked Internal medicine doctors and my girls as well.  We don't see the same doctors though.  

Quoting TranquilMind: This is why Family doctors are far superior. Not to mention the advantage that the doctor actually knows the entire family and the health histories of all.


cybcm
by Gold Member on Feb. 4, 2015 at 2:58 PM
We see a GP from birth here pediatricians don't do check ups, they really only deal with childhood diseases. For us, we have a clinic we use, everyone seems to have their own favourite doctor, so that works for us.
Sydel
by Group Admin on Feb. 4, 2015 at 3:52 PM

My mom being raised a migrant avoided doctors like th plague. She took me occasionally to the ER or Health Department after I passed out and/or needed to be hospitalized. Growing up I never saw the same doctor twice. I don't understand why she was like this. She is American. Born in Illinois and she worked at a fortune 500 company that had health insurance until I was 12. Then I was covered under my step dad's insurance until I was 17.

Anyways since I have no experience with doctors both my girls go to the same pedatrician who saw them in the hospital after their birth. My oldest is only 13. I don't have any plans on moving her. My brother stayed with his ped until he graduated high school. (his dad took him)

JENNlEPEPSl
by on Feb. 4, 2015 at 3:58 PM

We go to a family practice doctor. He is great. :) and we can do our appts together. and he moves flawlessly from DDs pediatric exam, to my well woman exam.  (DD is 11) 


lisa12121
by Member on Feb. 5, 2015 at 11:26 AM

Our pediatricians office is fine and sees plenty of teens. But, the last time I took my son over there (he is 14) he looked at me like I was crazy. Babyish murals, kid magazines, etc. He just looked horrified and told me never to bring him there again. Now I am in the process of transfering him from the pediatrician to my family practice where it appears he will feel more comfortable.

OHgirlinCA
by on Feb. 5, 2015 at 11:34 AM

 My kids pediatrician has been amazing through all stages.  My daughter is now an adult and is transitioning to "adult" doctors.  But, her pediatrician was amazing with her when she was having problems with painful periods.  He's been awesome with my 16 year old son too.  He's been an incredible advocate.

awbredux
by Allie on Feb. 6, 2015 at 9:09 AM

Same with us.  

Quoting JENNlEPEPSl:

We go to a family practice doctor. He is great. :) and we can do our appts together. and he moves flawlessly from DDs pediatric exam, to my well woman exam.  (DD is 11) 


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