As a new parent, one of the big things you do right after the birth of your child is decide on a pediatrician. Sometimes you are referred to one by other parents with glowing reviews, often times if you give birth in a hospital, they will assist you in deciding what pediatrician to take your child to, and sometimes you don’t have much of a choice, your insurance company will already have a list for you to choose from. Often military families must see the pediatrician at their particular health facility and other government forms of healthcare will often direct new parents to a specific pediatrician. And it’s usually right away. There are numerous check-up, immunizations, hearing tests, vision tests, and then the monthly, and then yearly check ups begin. In the early days and months and years of parenthood, it’s not a difficult question, “when do I stop going to a pediatrician” because it’s not something you think about, and your children surely aren’t asking, they probably don’t even think about the pediatrician unless they are sick or due for a shot. Then suddenly, perhaps right before the teen years, your child, for a variety of reasons may ask you, “when do I stop going to a pediatrician?”
Reasons To Stay With Your Pediatrician
There are many reasons why a parent would want a child to remain with their pediatrician for as long as possible, and some of these reasons may also be why a child would like to stay with their familiar doctor. If a family lives in the same area permanently, or for most of the child’s early life, it makes sense to stay with the pediatrician for obvious reasons. Continuity of care, knowing the doctors, nurses and staff, familiarity of appointment making procedures, etc. Records are intact and all together in the same place, so they are easy to gather if needed. Most pediatric offices will take children through their teen years, some will even see a child into their twenties. The Pediatric Center will see patients from birth to age nineteen, for instance. If you have a child with special needs or a rare condition, it is an especially good idea to stay with your pediatrician through the years as he or she will know what to expect from your child and be familiar with treatments that could benefit your child. Your child also may feel more comfortable staying with a healthcare team that understands his or her condition and doesn’t have to ask the same questions over and over every time there is a new visit or concern. So when the question comes up, “when do I stop going to a pediatrician?”, these are some of the reasons not to stop that can be discussed. As mentioned before, The Pediatric Center is happy to provide care for a patient from birth to age nineteen. Recap of reasons to stay with your pediatrician:
- Continuity of Care
- Familiarity with Healthcare Team For Child
- Records Are All Together And Easy To Access
Reasons To Switch From A Pediatrician To Another Kind Of Provider
Just as there are many and varied reasons to stay with your pediatrician, there are just as many reasons an individual may have to move on from a pediatrician. So when your child asks you “when do I stop going to a pediatrician”, perhaps they have some reasons why they would want to switch. Probably a child won’t have a desire to switch until puberty and the teen years. Things start to change, visits change, and perhaps your child isn’t comfortable seeing their pediatrician (who used to give them stickers and make jokes with them as children) in the teen years and with the adolescent issues. Even though a pediatrician is qualified to talk to kids about depression, contraception, sexually transmitted diseases, drug use and abuse, etc, your child may just want to see an entirely different provider in an entirely different setting. That is normal and absolutely acceptable. A adolescent or teen female patient may feel more comfortable with a female gynecologist for exams, pap smears, and possible birth control method discussion that with her pediatrician. Likewise, a teen male patient may decide that an internist or the family practice doctor is more comfortable to talk about his concerns and or difficult health issues than a pediatrician. Perhaps they feel more grown up at a general practice office than at a pediatric clinic with playrooms and child-themed rooms.
Listen to their concerns and try to accommodate them if possible. Most pediatric providers will understand these concerns and switching to another doctor or provider should not be a problem. Once you find a provider your child feels comfortable with, simply have the records transferred. At The Pediatric Center, while we are happy to serve our patients at all stages of development during their youth, adolescent, and teen years, we also understand why a child may want to switch doctors and we will try to make the transition as easy as possible. So when your older child wants to know, “when do I stop going to a pediatrician?” have a discussion, be sensitive to their reasons, and if it’s possible with insurance and location, help them decide on a new provider. The Pediatric Center can help with possible referrals and suggestions as well. Again, a review of common reasons why a child might ask “when do I stop going to a pediatrician”:
- More Comfortable Talking About Sexual Health Issues With A Specialist or Different Provider
- Don’t Want To Visit Office That Feels Specific To Small Children And Babies
Many times there is just a natural progression away from a pediatrician, parents may feel like when a child is not a toddler anymore, it makes more sense to have the whole family go to one family doctor and so it just happens without anyone asking the question “when do I stop going to a pediatrician”, it just happens at some point. Sometimes people move from one place to another and if their child is older than five or six, they don’t seek out a pediatrician specifically. So even if the question isn’t asked, things in life can change and the switch is made. But if this doesn’t happen, and you want to know “when do I, or my children, stop going to a pediatrician”, you can make a list of pros and cons, reasons to stay and reasons to switch, and then feel confident in your decision. At The Pediatric Center, we will work with you and your family however you decide to proceed.