Many professionals encourage the natural inclinations of youth to seek aptitude and self-sufficiency in health care, especially in a gradual fashion, starting when your teen is aged 13 to 18.
For your teen who started her first period, and after checking with her pediatrician, consider letting her see her own family doctor or gynecologist.
Here are 10 mindful considerations regarding the growth of your adolescent daughter:
- The First Period. Many use the opportunity of a girl’s first period to talk about her future health care, see a gynecologist, get an annual PAP smear, and do breast self-exams.
- The idea of getting her own doctor: You can prepare your teen daughter for the gifts of womanhood while you consider allowing her to participate in selecting her own healthcare professional.
- The first gynecologist: Many young girls naturally feel most comfortable by having a female gynecologist. This is something important to know, especially for single fathers who have daughters.
- Good role model: A female doctor may also serve as a good role model.
- Adolescent Medicine: Check with your teen’s pediatrician as you transition into ‘adolescent medicine.’
- Board Certification: Adolescent Medicine is a specialty requiring Fellowship training in an institution of higher learning.
- Continuity of Care: Both former and new doctors are supposed to talk to one another when needed, to facilitate an important concept in medicine: “continuity of care.”
- Maintenance of Quality of Life: Continuity of care means that the health care of the patient is streamlined when one doctor ‘takes over’ care of the patient, for example when one doctor goes on vacation and another is there to see your teen. The goal is that ‘nothing is missed’ and all important issues at hand are specifically listed in an ‘A – Z fashion.’
- Importance of prenatal care: Not every woman has a baby. But many women die due to pregnancy and childbirth, so it is important to teach a girl of the importance of her own healthcare.
- Vigilance with self-care. The World Health Organization recently has this informative piece on “antenatal” care, or caring for your body and preparing to have a baby, ‘before‘ you get pregnant:
There is a competitive and very structured tier of requirements for a doctor to go through any level of training to become American Board Certified in Adolescent Medicine. We will discuss this in an upcoming issue.
As your daughter grows out of her pediatrician and enters into adolescent medicine, there should be great clarity, no room for confusion, and a positive attitude moving forward … all is well in hand.
Kid’s Health: Medical Care and Your 13- to 18-Year Old (Available: click to listen available)
Mindfulness for Training Kids, San Diego
Your Daughter’s First Gynecology Visit (click to listen available)
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Additional Articles in the Teen Mindfulness Series: