For those of us with kids in school, especially those involved in youth sports, this time of year often includes a visit to the pediatrician’s office for an annual physical. A number of parents have contacted me over the years with horror stories about their young, adolescent children being asked all kinds of inappropriate, confusing, and offensive questions about sexual activity, domestic violence, and drug use… AFTER the parent is asked to leave the room.
Unfortunately, this is part of a well-documented effort to cut parents out of their children’s healthcare decisions regarding certain behaviors because parents are seen as an obstacle to a teenager’s “right to comprehensive health care.” I encourage you to download the one page MFI brief on parental rights in the doctor’s office here, but the bottom line is: you don’t have to leave your child alone in the exam room. If you do, much of what is discussed (or even the drugs or other treatments prescribed) can become “confidential,” and you forfeit your right to even know about them!
Parents should find a pediatrician they can trust to keep them involved in all aspects of their child’s healthcare, and it’s a good idea to talk with your children first about what to expect from the annual exam before getting to the doctor’s office.
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