What Parents Want Doctors to Talk to Their Teenagers About

In a national survey, parents of children 9-17 years old were asked to indicate from a list of 18 topics which ones were “very important for the doctor to discuss” during preventive care visits. Here is how the parents responded:

  1. Diet and nutrition (75%)
  2. Exercise and sports (67%)
  3. Physical changes of puberty (60%)
  4. Drug use (55%)
  5. Tobacco (52%)
  6. Depression and suicide (51%)
  7. Obesity (51%)

Parents of 16-17 year olds also wanted the physician to discuss sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy with their child. Given that 50% of 11th graders in the U.S. report they have already had sexual intercourse, this may be too little, too late.

PositiveTip: Engage your children in discussions of risky behavior and health issues often. Do not rely only on the healthcare or educational system to help your children safely reach adulthood!