Teens often want to see a doctor without their parents. They may have personal issues to discuss. These can include anything from sex and STDs, to things like how they are feeling and even stomach problems they don't want to talk about in front of mom or dad. Plus, a gay or lesbian teen may not be out at home and may have a health question related to his or her sexual orientation.
For these reasons, it would be great if all doctors asked accompanying parents to wait outside for all or some of a teen's visit.Since that doesn't always happen, here are some tips for teens who want to visit a doctor without parents.
- Decide if you want to see your regular family doctor or visit someone new.
- If you want to see your regular doctor, call the office to make an appointment. Make sure to ask about their confidentiality policy. If you do not want them calling your home number to confirm the appointment, make this clear. If you have a cell phone number, give it to them as your primary contact number.
- If you want to see a new doctor, ask your friends, school nurse or guidance counsellor for a teen friendly recommendation.
- You can also go online and look for an adolescent medicine doctor or a teen health center or clinic in your area. Both of these options are usually sensitive to teen health issues and the need for privacy about certain issues.
- If you have insurance, ask if it is accepted. If you don't have insurance, ask if they offer free treatment or have a sliding scale fee for teens.
- As with your family doctor, make sure to ask about their confidentiality policy and if you do not want them to call your home number, make sure this is clear.
- Try to schedule your appointment for a time when you have some freedom, preferably after school hours so you will not need to miss class and bring a note.
- If you can't get an appointment without your parents, call the office beforehand and request that the doctor ask your parents to step outside for a few minutes so you can talk alone. If you can get the doctor on the phone, tell him or her about any private concerns you have and explain you'd like to deal with them without your parents involvement, if possible.
- If you are going alone, bring your insurance card or a photocopy of it. If you can't get this from your parents, see if your school has a copy.
- It is great if you can discuss health issues with your parents, even if you don't want them to come with you for a doctor's appointment. Parents are often a lot more understanding than we give them credit for!
What You Need
- Insurance card.
- A doctor who maintains confidentiality.