When Safety Trumps an Awkward Moment…
As your dad looks on, watching you with a keen eye, you know this is your chance to speak up, to lift a heavy burden off your back. It’s been bothering you for days, weeks, even months, but heck, how could your old man understand? You’re worried that you might have an STD, but what do you do?
Perhaps you’ve developed genital warts or a rash, or there’s another reason you think you might have an STD. Sexual history isn’t something that most teens can imagine discussing with their parents, and that feeling is totally normal. However, when it comes to your health, you need to just suck it up. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your parent(s) or guardians(s), make sure you talk to your health care provider (HCP). It doesn’t need to be a big scene.
Say you’re at your annual physical; just ask your parent or guardian to leave the room for a moment. Sure, this will be uncomfortable, dare I say awkward. You’re trying to be subtle, and have probably spent weeks avoiding the conversation. Believe it or not, though, parents have been there before (they were your age once!). They understand that sometimes, you’re going to have private issues that are better left handled by your HCP.
When they leave, talk with your HCP about what is concerning you, and ask him/her about doctor—patient confidentiality. If you make it clear to your parent(s)/guardians(s) that your issue is something you want to keep between you and the doc, they’ll understand, as long as you’re responsible and talk with the proper authority (a healthcare provider).
So even though you may get a raised eyebrow when you ask your parent/guardian to leave the office, in the end, you’re being responsible and taking care of yourself, which is worth every second of that awkward interaction.
– Gabi P. Remz, YMH Summer Writing Intern