According to a recent report by Reuters Health, teens are more likely to seek health care and openly talk to doctors when they are assured of privacy, particularly for issues related to sexual behaviors, substance use, and mental health. Having one-on-one time with pediatricians is not only important for making healthy choices, but it helps teens grow to be more independent closer to adulthood, preparing them to make better healthcare choices after leaving pediatric care.
As pediatric professionals, it is crucial we create an open and trustworthy environment to have key milestone talks regarding sexual health, substance abuse, and risky behavior. This type of environment allows for opportunities in autonomy with health decision making, helping to form independent healthy habits. According to Dr. Melissa McKee of Albert Einstein College of Medicine in Bronx, New York “We need to start creating opportunities for kids to have autonomy with regard to health issues. It’s not all or nothing at a certain age. They don’t suddenly become fully in charge of themselves.”