New York: Parents may please take note that letting go of the reins when it comes to their children’s health checkups is actually beneficial for teenagers, according to new research.
The researchers found that majority of parents take control at routine visits, which may impede teenagers’ health care independence.
The findings are based on C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health that includes a nationally-representative group of parents of teenagers between ages 13-18 years.
“The majority of parents are managing teens’ health care visits, and their teens may be missing out on valuable opportunities to learn how to take ownership of their own health,” said Sarah J. Clark, associate director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health at University of Michigan in the US.
About 34 percent of parents said their teenagers discussed health concerns privately with a doctor without them in the room, and less than 10 percent said their teenagers can complete their health history form independently.
Nearly 40 percent of parents said that they alone — not their teenagers — would ask questions about health issues. Only 15 percent of parents said their teenagers would independently share physical or emotional problems with the doctor.
“Having teens take the lead in responsibilities like filling out their own paperwork, describing their health problems, and asking questions during adolescence helps them gain experience and confidence in managing their health,” Clark added.
“Speaking with the doctor privately is important, not only to give teens a chance to disclose confidential information, but also to provide the opportunity for them to be an active participant in their own health care, without a parent taking over,” Clark noted in an official statement.