When to Switch from a Pediatrician to a Family Doctor?

Updated on January 19, 2010
L.H. asks from East Stroudsburg, PA
10 answers

I was wondering when is it a good time to take my son to our family doctor? Right now he goes to a pediatrician. I know I don't want to be taking a teenager to see a pediatrician; even though, our pediatrician's nurse said it's ok to take them there until they are 16. It just would feel right to me and I don't want the kids to laugh at him for still going to a "baby doctor." Thanks.

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So What Happened?

Thanks for the advice. It's conforting to see that other moms take their children to see the pediatricain
into teenhood. So far we have seen some of his classmates there. He did mention about feeling a little
uncomfortable about going there, since there are so many babies and fear of his classmates making fun of him.
(Strange since the classmates go there, but kids do that.)I told him I'd change him over to our family doctor
next year when he's 12. I think I might have to introduce him to our family doctor first, since our family doctor
is not your typical "white coat" doctor. I've noticed that a lot of people are very pro ped. I never went to a ped. when I was a child and our family doctor treats children and babies as well, so I think that's why I really don't see the importance of a ped. for my pre-teen. Thanks for the advice.

More Answers


answers from New York on

Hi Leona,
It really all depends - is your doctor a family practitioner, or a GP/internist who only sees adults? We do see a family practitioner, and started taking the kids there when their pediatric practice stopped taking our insurance. It is very handy to have all of us with the same doctor, and our doctor is very knowledgeable about the health issues I'm concerned with for my kids. They were maybe 6 and 10 when we started going to the family practice doctor.

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answers from New York on

Ask your son... if he doesn't feel strange seeing his pediatrician, then continue until 16. If your son is healthy and just goes for physicals and minor issues, no need to change. If your son feels uncomfortable, then switch doctors.

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answers from Indianapolis on

Even though it seems a little weird to have a teenager seeing the same physician as an infant, I'd recommend keeping him there until he's 16.

Family Practice is a tough specialty - they are responsible for knowing so much about so many different conditions from birth through death.

Pediatrics are trained almost exclusively on issues from birth through adolescence. Most medications are not approved for people under the age of 16. A pediatrician should be better versed in that (though the web makes it a lot easier to access that information to an FP).

I've spent my professional career in and out of doctor's offices the past 9 years, and I will keep my kids with a pediatrician until they're teenagers. Then, I'll make the decision as to whether to move them to a Family Practitioner or an Internist based upon who's available in our local area.

Good luck. That's just my 2 cents from my own experiences.



answers from Albany on

He Leona,
As a manager for a large pediatric group, I wanted to let you know that many pediatricians follow patients/children/adolescents thru college, as they do in my practice. Have you discussed with your pediatrician? I know my pediatricians, as well as our children, prefer to stay as long as possible. This seems to be more so in boys than girls since girls start going to GYN care around the age of 18, however we suggest once they are sexually active, so the age could be younger. Please consider discussing with your pediatrician, whom you should trust to give you his or her honest feeling.



answers from New York on

My pediatrician see teens threw adolence till 21.
Kids might not be happy but why should anyone know your business.



answers from New York on

Personally, I went to my pediatrician until I graduated from college and was no longer on my parents' insurance. I had no problems and nobody seemed to care. Most of my friends did the same.



answers from New York on

I saw my pediatrician until my Sophomore year of college! So did many of my friends (and we didn't all have the same doctor). My husband and I now take our 3 kids to doctor I grew up with. Between infant well-visits and ear infections, etc. we're in the office every 2-3 weeks and we always see teens. Have you looked at the "culture" of your pediatricians office? If you're not there often, or you are only there during school hours, you may not be seeing the real population of your pediatrician's office. Have you asked the nurse - who okayed your son staying until 16 - how many other teens are still being seen in the office? How are your friends -same pediatrician or not - handling the situation with their kids?


answers from New York on

I left my kids with the ped until they turned 18 (at which point the office was no longer able to treat them due to the dr's insurance). The advantage of being able to call and have them seen that day instead of calling and having them seen a day or two later or going to urgent care was a plus.



answers from New York on

i have a 15 year old daughter and she still goes to the pd. they are suppose to treat up to the age of 18, not 16.
whatever child is comfortable with. why are you worrying about this now? your child is only 11 and should still definitely be at a ped.


answers from New York on

How old is your son now? I have 4 children and my oldest just turned 18. My pediatrician is a female so when my son expressed concern over being embarrassed when he was 15, I just switched him to a male pediatrician. The place I go to is a Family Practice so the pediatricians see both children and adults. But if your son is expressing concern then I would just go ahead and switch him over. Hope this helps. Good Luck.

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