Help! I'm 15, but my parents still stay in the exam room and answer questions when I'm at the doctor's. I want to ask about STDs, but I can't do it with them sitting there. How can I get them to leave?
It's important to have some time alone with your doctor so you can answer questions honestly. Most docs know how embarrassing certain topics can be if parents are sitting there, so they often ask mom and dad to give them some alone time with teen patients.
If your parents don't seem to be leaving, you could say that you have some questions you want to ask the doctor alone. If the doctor asks you to get into a gown for a physical exam, you could also say that you are embarrassed to be undressed in front of them.
It can often help to talk to parents about this before the appointment. Tell them you want to start learning how to take charge of your own health care, so you'd like to talk to the doctor alone. Say you're embarrassed discussing certain physical changes in front of them (guys can feel awkward asking a doc about topics like penis growth or bumps with a parent in the room; for girls it can be the same with breasts or periods).
Even when your parent is in the room, answer questions yourself rather than waiting for mom or dad to speak up. They're probably used to jumping in and answering questions for you because it's what they've been doing since you were a kid. But your doctor wants to know how you're feeling and what's going on with you, not what a parent thinks you're feeling.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: February 2013
*Names have been changed to protect user privacy.
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