At What Age Is It Appropriate to Let Your Children See the Doctor on Their Own?

Updated on March 30, 2015
J.A. asks from Mount Laurel, NJ
16 answers

I've always taken both my son and my daughter to the doctors for their yearly checkups. I work from home so it's easier for me to take them then my husband. I took my 11 year old son for his checkup this past week. After the exam my son asked me if i could wait in the waiting room next time and let him go back and be examined by himself. When i asked why and got a few 'just becuase" answers from him he finally told me he felt awkward having the doctor examine his genitals with me in the room. I thought i was a few years away from this issue but i guess not. While i trust the doctor not to do anything inappropriate, you just never know. I asked my son if he would feel better if his father took him next time/from now on, but he said he didn't think it would make a difference and he would still feel awkward about it. So what age do you think is good to let your children be examined by themselves? Before my son brought up his concerns i was thinking at least 13 or maybe 14 before i felt comfortable letting him go back by himself.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Thank you everyone for your answers. It makes sense like many of you said when they're old enough to ask, then that's the right time to let them make there own choices.

Featured Answers



answers from Louisville on

If they ask, I would let them. Chances are he has questions or would like some privacy if he is getting a physical. I can't blame him... At 11, he is entering puberty and it's pretty normal that he wouldn't want anyone else there. I know I would feel awkward going to a gyno with my dad at that age... And it would have been weird with my mom as well. Some people are just more private, and I would allow him that independence.

10 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I would stop going in when my kids felt uncomfortable with me being there. I only need to hear what the doctor has to say about the physical exam, not witness it.

4 moms found this helpful

More Answers


answers from San Francisco on

Listen to your son. Puberty (or pre puberty) is EXACTLY the time they start getting embarrassed about having you in the room.
And please remember, he's WAY more likely to be abused by a family member or good family friend so don't allow your fear to be misplaced!

8 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

I think if your son knows enough to know he's uncomfortable with parents in the room and is advocating for privacy, he's old enough to understand what is appropriate and inappropriate touch. You have to trust him and trust your own gut in choosing this particular doctor.

My son is nearly eight and honestly, I had decided long ago not to continue on with provider whose judgment I did not trust. If you don't trust your provider, get a new one. If you don't trust your son to advocate for himself, that would be different. But it sounds like he's being very direct and I'd honor his request.

7 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

At whatever point they say they would like me to allow it. It is up to each kid.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Oklahoma City on

I've always thought it would be when they asked.

But I had conditions in my mind where it wouldn't count.

Personal physical exams on a well child are perfectly fine for them to go back for the "exam" part on their own. The part where the doc asks questions about concerns and then the part where they give the results are "me in the room" time.

But if they go in for being sick then I'm in the room period. They might miss a symptom or answer the docs question without understanding.

For instance the doc says are you coughing? And just because they're not coughing that moment they say no but they might be coughing at home so much they're puking at night....they might be young to understand the whole question.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My boys are 11 and 17. The 11yo goes to a pediatrician and the 17yo goes to a family practice physician. The way each of those doctors handles visits, and the way my boys like things, too is for me to be in the room with them at the beginning of the visit during the talking part, and then I step out during the physical. I come back in afterwards in case anything else needs to be discussed. We're all comfortable with this, and it's how both offices do things with all of their preteen/teen patients.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

He's ready. I'm surprised he waited this long. I can't imagine that a child of 12-14 would allow his mother in the room. I think my kid was 9 when he was done with me being in there for the exam.

You are still entitled to the information because he is a minor. There won't be any secrets when it comes to essential information. I honestly think it's terrific that he wants to do this by himself. So go in for the question/review part of the annual physical and let your son do the rest on his own. Don't just allow it, but encourage it.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

i think mine were 12 or 13. not much older than yours.
basically when they're old enough to request it, they're old enough to have their wishes honored.
your son sounds mature and sensible. i don't know why you don't trust the doctor (you say you do but you clearly don't) but surely you can trust that your smart son will let you know if there's anything to worry about.
and there's not.

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

My daughter,now 20, has gone back alone for a few years. It started when she had a couple basic questions for me and I picked up on it at that time.

I have a relationship with her pedi and daughter so if there's anything I need to know, it's a group consult so everyone knows everything with exception to her private discussion with her Dr.

Works for us!

I can certainly understand an 11 yr old boy not wanting mom in the room.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Beaumont on

My kids go in for well visits by themselves (13 and 14 years old) however, I just started this. If they're sick, I still go in with them cause I have questions and want to make sure I get all the information about their illness first hand.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

Sounds like you were given your answer today by your son. I was off the top of my head going to say twelve and then when I read this I realized you have a very mature young man there. Congratluations! But I have actually gone into the doctor with my sons on different occasions when they were older (not involving those issues but perhaps a break or illness) so it just depends on the circumstances.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Portland on

My daughter asked me to stay in the waiting room when she was about 11-13, maybe 14. I asked the doctor abour this. Her pediatrician said it's the law that kids's wishes have to be honored. When the pediatrician came back to the waiting room with my daughter and I asked about the exam, she said all patients have legal right to ask that visits be kept confidential. Because I questioned this I researched the topic and found the laws state this.

My 14 yo granddaughter went in by herself just a few weeks ago. The pediatrician did tell me about at least part of the exam. I'm OK with it.I trust the pediatrician. She would tell me if my granddaughter needed medication including birth control Because I would be the one to buy So did my daughter's pediatrician. This last may be different if the child requested to not tell me.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Portland on

As long as they are comfortable going in on their own or ask to. We still go in with ours because mine had previous health issues, and they wouldn't remember all the details (we go over things and update each visit). We have one of those screens/curtains they use too so it's a bit more private if they need to be.

I have a female physician for them all who I trust and my kids do. When one of my kids had some anxiety (phase) she asked to see him on his own and he really opened up without us there. He was totally ok with that. They had a good chat and she updated me afterwards.

One thing I'll add is, here if you have a male doing exams (private areas) then a nurse comes in. Unless mom stays.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

i see a lot of like minded responses so i will keep it short and say that i would still go back with him but step out for that portion of the exam. i know my pediatrician is a DO and very holistic in her approach so she asks a lot of questions that require responses from both of us all the way through how he's doing at school and such. i agree if he's asking it should be respected but it's doesn't have to be a binary decision. best of luck...mine's 13 and covered in puberty....enjoy each day with your DS. :-)

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

It depends. For that part of a routine exam, I would step out of the room. Then return. For injuries (cuts, broken bones, sprains, etc) or illness, I would remain unless part of the exam required genital (or breast for daughters) exam beyond the age at which my kids were uncomfortable with me present for it.
My 16 year old would still have me in the room (except for the private portions of the exam) for everything. Kids are not qualified to fully give a history of the reason for the medical visit, nor ask appropriate questions (or complete questions), about any treatment or prescriptions, etc.

My son is 16, my daughter is 13.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions