Adolescence is an exciting time of physical and emotional growth and self-discovery. It is also a time of increasing independence and challenges, as teenagers begin to experience the world as young adults. Our pediatricians use this time to nurture a teenager’s development, and can help when there are significant concerns.
Out of respect for a teenager’s privacy and emerging role in personal decision-making, a portion of time during adolescent check-ups will be offered as one-on-one time with their provider.
Privacy Rights for Teens
Teenagers in Washington State have some important privacy and confidentiality rights. Teens can choose to talk privately with their doctor about:
- Mental health (age 13+)
- Drug and alcohol treatment or testing (age 13+)
- Sexual health (age 14+)
- Pregnancy care or testing (any age)
The conversation between your teenager and the doctor will be kept confidential, unless the doctor feels that the issues are potentially life-threatening for your teen or someone else. If that is the case, the doctor will work with your teen to get the help that is needed. Allegro Pediatrics is a safe place for you and your teenager to voice concerns and get support.
When You Have Concerns
Along with growth and self-discovery, adolescence can bring real challenges. When you have concerns, you can seek help from our care team, or explore community organizations like Teen Line, where teens can get help from fellow teens, and the other resources below.
Teenagers have a right to be treated respectfully. Cyber bullying and physical or mental intimidations are growing epidemics. Allegro Pediatrics is a safe place to get help if you feel your teen is being bullied. Get more information about what you can do to stop bullying from StopBullying.gov.
Domestic and Dating Violence
Teenagers have a right to feel safe in their relationships. Just like bullying, domestic violence can be perpetrated by anyone, including a friend, parent, or significant other. Your teen’s doctor can guide them through the steps towards getting help. Visit LoveIsRespect.org or the National Domestic Violence Hotline for more resources.
Teenagers have a right to feel good about themselves and their bodies. If your teen is struggling with an eating disorder, or you are worried about their eating habits, we are here to help. You can find more information here about eating disorders such as anorexia, bulimia and binge eating.
Mental Illness and Suicide
Teenagers have a right to understand and learn how to take control of their emotions. Depression and anxiety is far more common in teens than many may think. Talking to a doctor can help them see that there are ways to improve their situation, even if it feels like it is hopeless. The Depression Help Guide is also a great resource for a teen to help themselves or a friend.
If you are concerned that your teen may be thinking about suicide, please help them talk to someone right away. Allegro Pediatrics and the Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or suicidepreventionlifeline.org, are good places to get help.
Teens have a right to receive care and education to help them make good decisions about their sexual health. Parents are often a teen’s best resource for discussions and guidance regarding sexuality and dating. If they are 14 or older, teens can also talk privately with a doctor about their sexual health and identity. The doctor can also help teenagers decide when or how to share their concerns with a parent. Your teen can learn more here.
For more information especially for teenagers, visit our TeensHealth section.