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When Should a Child Start Seeing a Doctor Alone?
Question: At what age should my child start seeing our family doctor without me?
Answer from: Dr. Jackie Stiff, M.D., prevention expert
There are no set guidelines for when children should start seeing doctors alone. Pre-adolescence is a great time to have this conversation with your doctor and your child.
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Meet Dr. Jackie Stiff, Prevention Expert
Answering your questions about preventive care and living a healthy life
As a medical director with UnitedHealthcare, Dr. Jackie Stiff strives to make healthcare more affordable. She is board certified in both general preventive medicine and pediatrics and serves on the American Medical Association Commission to End Health Care Disparities.
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Dr. Jackie Stiff Child Seeing a Doctor A viewer wants to know, at what age will my child start seeing our family doctor without me? Well there is really no hard set rule as to a certain age when your child will be seeing the doctor alone but around the pre-adolescents stage, about 11 or 12 it’s a great time to start having that conversation with your physician and with your child. Typically during this stage, uh the beginning of the visit, the doctor will visit with the parent and child together and then after that, the parent will go out of the room and the doctor will examine the child and ask particular questions and have a dialogue. So at that 11 or 12 year age is a good time to start having that discussion and as you can well imagine, throughout childhood, pediatricians and family doctors work in something called anticipatory guidance. Where in each stage of childhood and adolescents, there’s certain types of questions that the doctor will be asking you as a parent, and your child. So in the pre-adolescent and adolescent time, you can imagine that the types of questions are very different. An example, the doctor will want to ask your child about social issues; how are they getting along with their friends, how are you doing at school, and determining whether they have any signs of depression or sadness. They’ll also want to ask your child about potentially risky behaviors, those behaviors such as exposure to smoking, alcohol, and even sexual activity. So as you can imagine, those are very sensitive topics and so when it’s time to have those discussions with your child, your doctor will want to have those with your child individually and without you in the room. So, again, there really is no hard set time when that occurs but make sure you start having those conversations in the pre-adolescent or early time period. And work in partnership with your doctor on a good time for that to start.