For Parents of Teenagers
Parents often want their children to go to doctors
for checkups and certain problems, but they fail to think about
how their teenage children may feel about modesty in medical
settings and having opposite sex doctors and nurses for certain
procedures that are intimate. Many adolescents are very sensitive
about the opposite sex seeing certain parts of their body because
they are undergoing a lot of changes. Most adolescent girls
don't feel comfortable letting their male pediatricians see
certain parts of their body. Many girls don't even like to discuss
personal matters such as periods and breast growth with their
male doctors. There is usually no need for teenage girls to
have pap smears if they are virgins.
Check out our article about virgins and pap smears. Sometimes,
virgin girls have problems such as abnormal heavy menstrual
periods, severe cramps, or large ovarian cysts that need to
be taken care of. It is best that you find a female
ob/gyn for her if she has some gynecological problems
that needs addressing. Be willing to drive
as far as you have to find a good female ob/gyn for your daughter
if there are no good female ob/gyns where you live.
Many teenage girls have been traumatized by
having intimate examinations by male doctors. Many teenage girls
are uncomfortable with strange men including doctors touching
certain parts of their bodies. Some teenage girls have made
a commitment to save sex until marriage and they also feel that
their future husband should be the only man in the world who
can see and touch certain parts of their body after puberty.
Many teenage girls are even uncomfortable discussing
personal matters such as their menstrual periods, breast health,
and some other female health issues with their male pediatricians.
Help your teenage child to think in advance
about what parts of her/his body need to be examined before
she/he goes to the doctor. For example, if your teenage daughter
has an elbow injury, it would be best if she could wear a short
sleeved shirt instead of a long sleeved shirt so she would not
have to take her shirt off. Remember that it is unnecessary
for a girl to take off her shirt for the doctor to listen to
her heart. If she wears a sweater, she should have a thin shirt
under it. Encourage your teenage children to speak up about
what they want in regard to their modesty in medical settings
no matter how hard it is. Make sure they know that they have
the right to decide if they want same gender nurses or doctors
for certain things and that they can refuse to take clothes
off for certain procedures or even refuse certain procedures.
Be sensitive to the fact that your teenage
son may not want female nurses around when he has certain examinations
or procedures that would expose his male organs. It is very
normal for a man to be modest. There are many men who want only
male nurses and doctors for certain procedures. Many teenage
boys have been traumatized by the sports physical examinations
they've had to have in order to play sports at school. Please
check out an article, Are Breast
/ Genital Exams Necessary for Sports Physicals?
If your child want an all same gender team
for certain procedures or surgeries, work hard to advocate for
his/her wishes no matter how hard it is. Your teenage child
will appreciate your sensitivity to his/her needs for modesty.