Congratulations! Your child is becoming an adolescent! This is an exciting life stage filled with unique opportunities and occasional challenges. All providers that see teenagers look forward to working with you and your teen on how best to navigate these ups and downs. During the clinic visit, they will ask your child directly what the reason is for their visit, and they will explain the treatment plan to him/her. Providers want your teen to know that they regard them as their patient and respect their feelings, wishes, and concerns.

Also, teens need to practice these self-care skills, and starting early allows them to get the hang of it before they are on their own. This will help the teen patient be aware of the importance of taking responsibility for their own health.

Another way providers encourage teens to participate in their own care is to spend time alone with them at the visit. There may be some things your teen will feel more comfortable talking about only with the provider. This is a change from when he/she was younger, but it is the recommended way to best serve teens. Providers will usually see you with your child first, then with the child on his or her own. They can also be a resource to you as you navigate how to parent a teen. They would be happy to meet with you. Remember that parenting a teen is not always easy, but your job is still so very important. You are the most powerful role model in your teen’s life. Sharing your values around alcohol, drugs, sexuality, and interpersonal relationships is vitally important.

Start early, and talk often!