Hey, Doc — Can You Talk With My Kid About Sex?


When we bring our wanna-be-teen and teenage kids to the doctor for routine check-ups, many of us are hoping our kid’s doctor or nurse practitioner will do more than just check blood pressure, listen to our child’s heart and keep the vaccination record up to date.

We also want the doctor to talk with our kids about sex, diet, drug abuse and smoking, says a new report from the University of Michigan.

The poll — which asked parents of 11- to 17-year-old kids to rate 18 health-related topics for healthcare providers to address during an adolescent’s routine check-up — found that diet/nutrition, exercise/sports and the physical changes of puberty were the overall top three issues parents want discussed, followed by drugs, tobacco, sexually transmitted diseases and depression/suicide.

Doctors have heard it all, and they know how to talk with teens and pre-teens about these potentially touchy topics. So if there’s something on your mind that you’d like your child’s doctor to discuss during an upcoming office visit, call her in advance and let her know.

P.S. This all leads me to a question our family is considering right now: When to switch 12-year-old Matt from our much-loved pediatrician to our family doctor, who is also terrific. Matt has been seeing the same doctor since he was a toddler, but lately when we enter the waiting room, he looks pretty out of place, at 5’6," surrounded by those tiny chairs and Thomas the Tank Engine books.

If you’ve made the switch and given up your pediatrician, how old was your child when you did it? And are you happy you switched?

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2 Responses to “Hey, Doc — Can You Talk With My Kid About Sex?”

  1. ellen says:

    I switched my daughters to my physician at about 13. I mad sure the first visit was stress free. With my oldest I made a “transition” appointment when she had a simple need, not feeling sick from an awful flu or needing an immunization. With my youngest, I just took her to one of my easy appointments. I prefaced each one’s first appointment with “just meet her and see what you think”. I let them make the decision which I think helped. Gave them a sense of being in control and not forced. Also let them feel grown up! They both liked her and the transitions were easy.

  2. Kathy Sena says:

    Ellen, I think you were so smart to do it this way. Makes a lot of sense to let then feel comfortable and not pushed. Thanks for the good ideas!