Teens

Teen Years Are a Time of Change—We’re Here for You

As you continue to grow and change, you will have new health needs. These changes can be confusing and leave you wondering what is happening to your mind and body. You may have questions about these changes and how you should take care of yourself.

We are here to help you stay healthy and answer your questions. We see many patients until they are between 18 to 20 years old. When you reach this age, we will discuss how to transition to physicians who can care for you as an adult.

Your pediatrician can answer questions about:

  • Eating right
  • Your height and weight
  • Exercise and sports
  • Acne
  • Dating
  • School performance
  • Alcohol and other drugs
  • Other concerns that you may have

Our Discussions Will Be Between Us, Whenever Possible

When you are 11 or 12 years old, we will speak with you and your parents at your check-up and suggest that you spend some time alone with your pediatrician at future visits. What you talk about during these visits will remain confidential. This way you will begin to learn how to take care of your own health.

As our patient, we respect your privacy. However, your parents may be concerned about your health and well being. Your pediatrician will keep them informed of extreme situations, for example, if your life or someone else's is in danger. In most cases, the information you share with us will stay between us.

Yearly Check-Up Recommended for Teens

We recommend that you come in once each year for a check-up. This is a first step in taking charge of your own health. During this visit we will discuss how you can keep yourself healthy, recommend appropriate screening tests, and make sure everything is okay.

When To Make an Appointment

Beyond your annual physical, you should also make an appointment to see us when you are sick or concerned about what is happening to your body. Physical growth may also trigger changes in how you think and feel. You may feel sad, angry, or nervous at times. You should feel free to talk with us about these things

Sports and School Physicals

During a sports physical we focus on health issues that are important to sports participation. Any physical after April 15th is valid for the following school year. We recommend that you schedule your sports physical at least 8 weeks before you are to begin practice. This way if we encounter a problem that may limit participation we can thoroughly evaluate it before you are scheduled to begin practice. During these visits, we discuss many ways to keep healthy and fit during your sports season. Most times this can be done along with your yearly physical, at the same time as your child’s annual well visit. If you come in for a physical without your parent, please bring your consent form. Also please complete your survey, found in your portal. Call us at 949-4465 to make your appointment today.                                                                                                         

Treatment of Illnesses or Injuries

It is important for you to tell us about any chronic pain or illnesses that you have or any changes in the way you feel, even if you don't think they are serious. We can discuss the impact that these may have on your health.

Growth and Development

Your body will go through a big growth spurt during puberty. You may want to discuss things like how tall you will be, is your sexual development normal, should you worry about your weight, or are you having problems with your menstrual periods. These are all things you can discuss openly and freely with your physician.

Problems with Friends, Family, or School

Sometimes it is difficult to know who to turn to when you have a hard time dealing with problems with friends, family, or school. Feel free to talk to us about your concerns.

Alcohol or Drug Use

You may be tempted to take risks or feel a lot of pressure from your friends to do things that make you feel uncomfortable. Becoming an adult means more than just physical growth. It means making decisions that are best for you. We can explain how smoking, drinking, or taking other drugs can affect you.

Sexual Relationships

During your visits with us, you'll have a chance to ask questions about dating, sexual activity, and infections. We can also talk to you confidentially about postponing sex and how to protect yourself against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) like HIV and pregnancy. It's important to make smart choices about sex now since the wrong choice could affect the rest of your life.

Referrals to Other Doctors

If you have a medical problem that will require you to see a different type of physician, we will refer you to a specialist who can help. A referral may involve an ophthalmologist (eye doctor) for visual problems, psychologist for stress or depression, physical therapist for injury rehabilitation, or other physicians to address your special needs.

The information on this website is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis, or treatment by a health care professional.

Emergency Numbers

Emergency Phone Numbers for Teens—24 Hour Crisis Lines

Runaway/Shelter

The Bridge
(616) 452-3001

National Runaway Hotline 
(800) 786-2929

Suicide/Mental Health

Network 180
(616) 336-2450
(616) 336-3535
(616) 336-3909
(800) 749-7720

Medical Emergency

Medical Emergency
911

Poison Control

(800) 222-1222

Sexual Assault/Rape

YWCA Sexual Assault
(616) 776-RAPE
(616) 776-7273

Family Violence/Child Abuse

Children Protective Services
(616) 247-6300

Parent Help Line
(800) 942-HELP

Not Sure Who to Call?
First Call for Help:
211*
(800) 887-1107

*PLEASE NOTE that "211" is different from the emergency number "911"—When you call "211" you will reach "First Call for Help," a program by the United Way when you don't know who to call for non-emergent problems.