Is Pediatric Care Limited to a Certain Age?

As a parent, it’s important that you have a good pediatrician for your child, but you need to know when it’s time to move on and find a different doctor who can treat an adult. A pediatrician can see a child from infancy until they turn 18 or 21, but your child will almost certainly outgrow the need for a pediatrician long before that.

Different Health Issues for Different Ages

While having one doctor treat your child through their childhood into their teenage years does allow the doctor to become more familiar with your child’s health, different health issues will arise at different ages. It’s hard enough for a lot of teenagers to talk about their health problems, but it’s even worse when they have to talk about them to someone who has known them since they were a baby. Issues such as contraception and STD screening should be addressed, and teenagers who cannot talk about these things with a doctor should think about seeing someone new.

Confidentiality

When a child is very young, they will most likely have one or both of their parents in the room with them during pediatric appointments. That makes sense for a baby or toddler who has to rely on their parents to remain healthy, but teenagers require more confidentiality than that. They won’t want to discuss the subjects we mentioned before in front of their parents so they may be better off seeing a primary care doctor by themselves to have those discussions. Confidentiality is very important for an adult who sees a doctor, so it stands to reason that a teenager would expect the same kind of treatment.

When to Find a New Doctor

So, when it is time to find a new physician for your children? That answer really depends on your children and the kind of care they need. No two people are alike; one young person might feel like they should start seeing a new doctor at the age of 13, while others might be fine seeing their pediatrician until they reach adulthood. Listen to your child and their pediatrician to decide what is best for them.

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