Time to Say Good-Bye to the Pediatrician? Questions for You, Your Child, and Your Doctor

Have you ever looked at your child and thought: She’s getting too old for this? Maybe you were brushing her hair for her, or picking up the socks that she left on the floor of the bathroom.

The older your children get, the faster the time seems to go by. Before you know it, they’re less like the children you remember and more like mini-adults you hardly know. Given that, are they too old to keep visiting the doctor they’ve been seeing since they were in diapers?

There’s no answer that’s right for everyone. After all, a pediatrician isn’t just a doctor who knows kids. She’s a doctor who knows your kids. There’s a level of comfort there that may be tough to give up. And pediatricians are trained to care for children from birth to young adulthood, so there’s no need to switch before everyone is ready.

Here are some questions for you, your child, and your pediatrician that may help you decide when to make a change.

To Ask Yourself

  • Am I comfortable transitioning my child to a family physician?
  • Does my child have ongoing health concerns that our pediatrician is already very familiar with?
  • As my child matures, would he or she feel more comfortable seeing a doctor of the same sex? If so, is this a good time to make the transition to adult care?
  • Am I comfortable giving my child time to speak to his or her doctor in private?

To Ask Your Child

  • Do you feel comfortable asking questions of your pediatrician? Is there anything you feel you can’t talk about?
  • Would you feel more comfortable with a family care doctor?
  • Would you feel more comfortable with a doctor who’s a man/woman?
  • Do you feel you need time to talk to your doctor by yourself?

To Ask Your Pediatrician

  • When is the right time for my child to begin meeting with you privately? For the whole appointment or just part of it?
  • When is the right time for kids to make the switch to family care? Do you think this is the right time for my child?
  • Are there any health or developmental concerns that suggest my child should continue in your care? Are there any that suggest we should switch?

Whether or not you decide it’s time to make the switch, it may be time to start thinking about how your adolescent will take responsibility for his or her own health care. Both pediatricians and family care physicians can help make this transition. All you have to do is ask.