There’s an old saying that honesty is the best policy, and that’s especially true when it comes to being honest with the doctor. Although health can be a sensitive topic and many teens may feel embarrassed about bringing up certain health issues to their doctor, it is really important for teens to be open about their health and body so that they can receive the best possible medical care. Here are a few tips on how you can help your open up to their doctor.
Ensure Your Teen Understands Doctor/Patient Confidentiality
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Some teens may not want to be honest with their doctor because they are scared that the doctor will talk about the appointment with you. For example, if they want to ask their doctor about contraception but they don’t want you to know they are sexually active, this may create hesitation. Make sure your teen knows that doctors will keep information confidential, unless they believes that it poses a danger. For example, a doctor would tell you if they believed your teen may be a danger to themselves or others, but would stay confidential about matters such as sex and sexuality, mild to moderate mental health issues and drug and alcohol use.
Help Your Teen Find a Doctor They Trust
Make sure your teen feels comfortable talking to their doctor. You may be incorrectly assuming that because your teen grew up going to a certain doctor that they automatically feel comfortable with them. Ask your teen if they feel they can trust their doctor, and if they tell you they can’t, help them find a new doctor that they feel comfortable confiding in.
Tell Your Teen That What They Have to Say is Important
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Some teens may not be honest with their doctor because they feel that their opinions or health issues are unimportant or not worth discussing. They also might not be sure of the seriousness of things they want to bring forward. Ensure that your teen knows that they should talk to their doctor about any problems or questions they have. Your teen should know that there is no issue that is too small to discuss with their doctor.
Discuss the Potential Consequences of Being Dishonest With Their Doctor
Your teen may think that no harm can come from a few white lies told in the doctor’s office. However, this could not be further from the truth. Let your teen know that there can be consequences if they are not honest with the doctor. For example, if your teen is smoking but does not let their doctor know, the doctor may prescribe medications that won’t be properly absorbed into their bloodstream. Tell your teen that they must answer all questions that the doctor asks with honesty because if they don’t, any prescribed treatments or medications may be ineffective.
As a parent, it is very important that you stress to your teen how crucial it is that they are honest with their doctor. With these tips you can help your teen build the foundation for a lifetime of honesty.
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