Q: Should I insist on being in the exam room when my child visits a doctor? Recently I took my 14-year-old daughter for a check-up and was told to wait outside. To be honest, I’m concerned about messages my daughter might receive that may run counter to my values.
A: We understand why you felt uncomfortable at being excluded from the room when such significant matters were being discussed. At the same time, teens often feel freer to talk about things they might never mention with mum or dad present. These aren’t necessarily troubling secrets or problems, but issues that, for one reason or another, teens don’t feel they can talk about with anyone else. In such cases, a good doctor has a tremendous opportunity to provide wise counsel and guidance during a confusing season in life.
That’s why we recommend seeking out a health care professional who shares your values — or who is at least willing to honour them. Talk to your daughter’s doctor and discuss your concerns candidly but respectfully, particularly with regard to sexuality.
Also, when it comes to delicate procedures such as a pelvic exam, some adolescents may want a parent present, while others prefer to be on their own. Discuss this possibility with your child in advance so that you can both consider your teen’s feelings on the matter.
Most importantly, continue investing time and energy into strengthening your relationship with your daughter. Doing so will make it more likely that she’ll look to you for guidance about important matters and life choices, now and in the future. If you haven’t already, take this opportunity to engage your daughter on the topic of sex and make sure she understands human sexuality. To help you do so with confidence, explore our Resources.
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