While you were intimately involved in the health care of your infant, toddler, and elementary school-age child, the teenage years are the beginnings of independence in many areas of your child’s life. One of the most important areas to consider is health care, which is a major determinant of quality of life for the rest of your child’s life. Not only can you model your own healthy habits, but also you can take some of the following steps to give your child the confidence that he will need to make his own wise decisions over the years.
Let Children Talk on Their Own to Their Physicians
One of the first things you can do is to stop answering all of the doctor’s questions about your child on your own. Instead, encourage your child to speak up while you are still in the room. Eventually, such as around the age of 14 or 15, you can even leave the room to give your child more privacy. The more your child practices this, the more confident he will feel about discussing any type of medical concern he has.
Let Children Know More About Their Diagnoses or Medications
Now is the time to discuss any chronic illnesses with which your child is currently living. Talk about symptoms that your child could experience, tips for keeping symptoms in check, and medications that he is taking. Teenagers love to do their own research online. Direct them to reputable health care sites that will give them accurate information.
Have Older Teenagers Make Their Own Appointments
Once children are in the later teenage years, they should be able to make their own doctor appointments. This will let them choose times that work best for them. In addition, they should get practice in filling their own prescriptions following appointments. Let them know that they can ask pharmacists any questions they have about their prescriptions.