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What to Expect at an Adolescent Medicine appointment 
 
 

Teenagers and young adults need specialized medical care and a doctor with whom they can discuss anything, including: acute or chronic illness, health maintenance and preventive care, sexual concerns and emotional problems. Their parents also need special guidance and support through these years. Our practice goal is to provide comprehensive health care to teens and their families.

As teens begin to develop into adults and take more responsibility for their lives, we ask for more input from them about their health. As part of comprehensive health care, it is our practice to ask parents to wait outside for part of the interview and encourage the adolescent to discuss his or her own view of the problem. Talking to teens without the parent also gives teens a chance to ask questions or give information they may feel self-conscious about. Teens often have questions or concerns that they may feel embarrassed to talk about in front of their parents. It is important to give them enough freedom to grow but not so much they get involved in the wrong activities.

For example, many teenagers and young adults experiment with high-risk behaviors that can lead to serious problems.

In U.S. high schools in 2009:

  • 46 percent of teens have tried cigarettes
  • 73 percent drank alcohol
  • 36 percent have tried marijuana
  • 46 percent have had sex
  • 13 percent considered attempting suicide
  • 26 percent feel hopeless or sad

Most teenagers will hide their behavior so parents are not the first to find out. Our goal is to help identify these problems, before they become too big, and help prevent them. To do this we must give them a reason to trust us.

Missouri law requires that some services are offered to teens privately. We ask parents to leave for part of the interview for confidentiality and to build trust. We also encourage the teen to discuss important issues with parents.

It is important to know that if your child is doing something to hurt himself or herself or others, or if someone is hurting your child, we will be forced to break confidentiality.

The staff is always available to discuss health problems or answer questions. The Adolescent Medicine team at SSM Cardinal Glennon wants to work with you to help your teenager or young adult make the best choices for a healthy future.

 

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