After talking with a few people, I realize I may be in the minority here.
Sometimes a doctor or nurse has your child’s best interest in mind and helicopter parents need to back off and let the professionals do what they are trained to do. A doctor talking with a teenager alone may be in everyone’s best interest.
There is a large part of me that believes you know your child better than anyone else does. There is also a part of me that realizes that many parents don’t know when to cut the apron strings and let the child start to take responsibility of themselves. The exact age and circumstance may vary, but at some point, children need to learn how to become responsible adults and take care of themselves. That’s the goal – to raise self-sufficient children.
What would you think if you saw this sign at your child’s doctor’s office?
A Michigan mother says when she asked about it she was told, “there was a new policy that would allow a child to access his/her medical records online and the child would be allowed to block a parent from viewing the website. The nurse would also inform my children that the doctor’s office is a safe place for them to receive information about STDs, HIV and birth control.”
Which part of that might be upsetting? Personally, I might be a little upset that I would have to call the doctor’s office to find out the medical information regarding my child if he blocked me from viewing the website. The talk about STDs, HIV and birth control wouldn’t bother me a bit.
I was surprised to read that the mother’s response was, “it was clear that these people were angling to undermine my parental authority.”
They want to have a medical conversation with her 17-year-old daughter and she feels they are angling to undermine her parental authority. Are you kidding me?
She goes on to say, “Make sure this is crystal clear: what they want to do is talk to your child about sex and drugs (maybe rock and roll – who knows?) without your input. Is it really such a stretch to imagine that a doctor who does not value abstinence before marriage would encourage your daughters – as young as 12! – to receive birth control? Is it really such a stretch to imagine a nurse telling a young boy – because a 12-year-old boy is a BOY – that she will give him condoms so he can be “safe”? Is this what you want told to your children without the ability to filter the info through your world view?”
Yes, it IS a stretch to believe a doctor is going to bully your daughters or sons into receiving birth control. It’s my parental responsibility to talk with my children about sex and birth control. If I do my job, 5 minutes alone with a medical professional isn’t going to be surprising or shocking to them at all.
Doctors need accurate information about their patients. If asked in front of their parents, many sexually active teens may lie to the doctor to avoid the parent knowing. If the teenager tells the doctor they are sexually active, the doctor will talk to them about being safe.
If we think children won’t have sex without birth control, we are naïve. If we believe children will listen to everything we tell them, simply because mommy and daddy said so, we are foolish. If we believe all children will talk freely with a physician, even though their judgmental parents are around, we are crazy.
They will have sex when they feel they are ready. Without honest talks about birth control, the risks of pregnancy and STD’s are much higher. This isn’t a conversation that needs you to filter the info through your world view. Facts are facts. Your world view won’t change that.
I’m not saying a parent’s view isn’t important. It is important. Parents should teach their children their beliefs. Parents have all night, all week, all year to share their views with their child. That’s what parenting is all about. The parents know what is being discussed between the doctor and their child. They don’t need to hear the actual conversation between the doctor and child, though.
Even a child who is close with their parents might not feel comfortable telling the parents they are sexually active. That doesn’t mean the teenager doesn’t need to know about birth control options or the risks of contracting an STD.
If this mother feels that 5 minutes alone with a medical professional would undermine morals and values she has instilled in her daughter for 17 years, how can she ever let her daughter out of her site? She’d crumble under actual peer pressure.
I have taken both my boys to every doctor’s appointment they’ve ever had. About the time they develop pubic hair, I’m not sitting in the exam room with the boys during the “turn your head and cough” portion of the physical. I’m sure it would be very awkward and uncomfortable for them. I respect them enough to know sometimes I need to step out of the room.
As a female, I would have been mortified if my mother would have been in the room with me the first time I had a pap smear. Honestly, any pap smear, not only the first one. There are some things better done alone.
Finally, that mother says, “Perhaps if more of us stood up for our rights as parents, this ludicrous undermining of parental authority might end.”
Ludicrous undermining of parental authority? The “child” in this case is 17. When is she able to finally learn how to talk to her doctor about her issues without her mother hovering over her, making sure what is talked about is parent approved?
When is it time to cut the apron strings and allow the child to grow up a little? 12 years old and 5 minutes alone with a doctor to discuss health issues the child may not discuss with the parent doesn’t sound that far off to me. What do you think?