General Question

DominicX's avatar

Is it uncommon for parents to go in with their children to doctor's examinations?

Asked by DominicX (28762points) February 23rd, 2010

A recent story about a convicted child molester/pediatrician in Delaware brought this to my attention. The majority of his victims were very young children. I just want to know: where were the parents? Are parents honestly letting their 3 year old children go into an examination alone? Is that even allowed? Is this unique to Delaware or something?

I don’t know about you, but my mom went in with me to check-ups until I was in middle school and started wanting to go alone. I thought that was what people did in general.

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35 Answers

thriftymaid's avatar

No! I always did.

Trillian's avatar

Um. Yeah. I would never allow anyone to be alone with one of mine. If they asked me to leave the room, I’d be taking my kid with me.

john65pennington's avatar

Wife and i went in with each doctors visit with our children. not just for their safety, but to listen to their doctors findings and the condition of our children. people should never let their children be alone with any stranger….....and that includes their doctor.

Jennifries's avatar

My mom always went into the doctor with me as a child, even once I was a teenager.
I’ll be doing the same for my own children some day. I think it’s an important part of taking control of your kid’s health, and being informed on what’s going on around you. I can’t imagine being able to take an active role in your child’s health without actually being in the pediatrician’s room with him/her during the entire visit. It just seems irresponsible to me.

DominicX's avatar

The other thing I don’t understand is why a 3-year-old would even be okay with going in alone. Most kids are kind of afraid of doing things like that without their parents around. This story just has me bamboozled.


One of the reasons why I stopped wanting my mom going in with me (I was a teenager at the time, so it was a little different) is once I became of the age when they started doing the whole “cough test” thing, I became uncomfortable with the idea of my mom being there. (I can’t really remember exactly when she stopped going, but it was because I specifically requested to go in alone). Around that time it became more necessary when I began having to take surveys about drug usage and sex and such. Of course, that didn’t mean that my mom didn’t come in afterward and then they discussed everything. What also helped was never really having any medical problems.

Still, it seems odd that for children as young as 3–6, etc. it wouldn’t be compulsory for parents to go in with them. It seems to be the consensus that parents should definitely go in with children that age. Why not make it necessary?

janbb's avatar

I always went in with my kids until the doctor told me it was time to stay out. This was when they were about 12 or 13.

casheroo's avatar

I find it truly bizarre. I’d never leave my 9 month old alone in a doctors office. I mean, it really blows my mind. Usually pediatrician visits are quite short. You go in, they weigh and measure your child, you get to ask all the questions you have (which is sometimes a lot) then the doctor leaves.
I couldn’t imagine NOT wanting to go into the room, or thinking that it’d be okay.
And yeah, I didn’t start going alone until I asked my mother or she offered that I could go alone. I was probably 12 or 13.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

My mother went in with me until I hit the teen years. Then I wanted to be seen without her in the room. The doctor was fine with that; he actually encouraged it.

@Jennifries, you say it’s irresponsible for a parent not to go into the exam room. I disagree with that. Especially with teenagers, we’ll often get more candid information from them if the parent is not in the room. For instance:

Doctor to teen: “Are you sexually active?”

Teen (looking nervously at mother): “No! No way!”

That teen certainly doesn’t have an incentive to tell the truth.

escapedone7's avatar

I have been in a children’s hospital before when my niece had serious kidney problems that required surgery. Most children had a parent or grandparent in their hospital room consoling them, rocking them, keeping them from pulling on their IV’s, handing them toys. However, some children there were in the foster care system, from a children’s home or between foster families. A caseworker would show up now and then but many of them were alone with nothing but the occasional nurse showing up every few hours at med pass and the like. I made a point of asking about toddlers who were left to scream for hours. I even asked if I could help and was told I could not. Many children in this world are very much alone, kicked out a foster home and waiting for the next one.

As a child if I had to be examined in an overly personal way I asked my parents to leave the room. This started around middle school, when getting naked seemed like a big deal. I would like to think that doctors who tale advantage of this are rare.

For the most part when puberty hits a child starts wanting to ask private questions about the changes in their body, ask embarrassing questions, and may have deep concerns about puberty related changes. They may get self conscious and want to go in alone and ask questions. By then though, a child can talk, knows how to tell if something happened, and are not the same as a 5 year old. I think if the child has reached an age where they want to show the doctor something private and ask private types of questions and they request to be left alone, they should be allowed. I think children too young to effectively communicate, wouldn’t even ask to be left alone. They would want mom. Where’s mom? A teen may ask for some space, and hopefully will be given it when asked.

casheroo's avatar

@Jennifries A toddler is much different than a teenager. My mother had no interest in being there for my first pap exam. She knew about it, I told her about it and everything that happened..but she didn’t even go to the doctor with me. She was always informed though, and luckily my mother was on board with me getting on birth control. And I was 14. You can’t hold their hands for every single thing. But, toddlers and young children, in my opinion, need a parent in the room. They’re the ones that know to ask the questions and express concerns if there are any.

JLeslie's avatar

My mom came in with me until I was 13 or 14. When I became a teenager The Navy Medical Center I went to switched me to an adolescent doctor, and my mom stopped coming in with me. I don’t know how common this specialty is, but for me it was wonderful.

augustlan's avatar

I’ve always gone into the room with my kids, even now that the oldest is 15. I offer to let her go in alone these days, and so far she’s always wanted me with her. But, when I was a kid, my mother often sent me in to the doc alone. She wasn’t exactly the best mother in the world, though.

CMaz's avatar

Doctors use to come to the house.

JLeslie's avatar

@ChazMaz My doctor used to make house calls, but only for emergencies.

LunaChick's avatar

I’m watching this on the news right now – it’s horrible. I don’t understand how he was alone with that many children. My mother always came in with me, when I was a kid.

Dr_C's avatar

I refuse to treat children unless the parents are present.

chyna's avatar

My mom didn’t come in with me, but she was clueless.

Aethelwine's avatar

All I can say is….wow! What parent doesn’t go along with their young child? If the doctor told me to wait in the waiting room, I’d get a new doctor. The only time I don’t go in the examination room with my children is when they get a school physical, otherwise I go with them.

Alleycat8782's avatar

My mom always came with me when I was little. I liked having her there with me by my side while the doctor was there. Not only did she come to support me but she made sure she recieved the correct information from the doctor about my health. Then I was a teenager I was able to go by myself.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

Sometimes a doctor will have parents stay out of the exam room if he/she suspects child abuse. Then a nurse is often kept in the room as a chaperone/witness.

chyna's avatar

@Dr_Dredd Or in this case, if he is doing the child abuse.

pearls's avatar

I always went in with my children, even in their teens. I never suspected any abuse on the part of the physician. I felt it was my responsibility as a parent to be there with them and they in fact wanted me there also.

ubersiren's avatar

It’s definitely not common. I had never heard of a parent leaving his/her child (at least young children) alone in an exam room until this story. I’d like to know what story the doctor gave the parent to make them leave the room. Imagine how many times he had to try his luck before winning over a trusting enough parent to actually go. It’s nauseating to think about. I cannot imagine leaving my kid. Especially after having read this. I continue to be disgusted by this story.

TheJoker's avatar

No, sounds positively odd to me. My mum certainly was present at all my childhood doctors appointments.

augustlan's avatar

After thoroughly reading the article and watching the video from the link, it seems he briefly took the children to another room to do his dirty work. I wonder if it was something like “I’ll just take little Susie over to the scale, and we’ll be back in a sec”. In that case, I can imagine a lot more people letting that happen without escorting the doc and their child to the next room. I bet most parents wouldn’t do that after hearing about this case, though.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@chyna In every state in the US, a doctor can be criminally liable if he/she suspects child abuse and DOESN’T investigate. There is a mandatory reporting requirement. So, I can understand why a medical professional might want to talk to a kid without the parents present. This case is especially disgusting because it’s going to make all pediatricians’ jobs much more difficult. (And, of course, it’s disgusting because it’s child molestation.)

OpryLeigh's avatar

I can always remember my mum coming into the doctors with me. More to the point, I wanted her there! I think I was in my mid teens when she stopped coming in with me.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dr_Dredd I understand your concern, but isn’t it solved by having a nurse present? I have had two bad interactions with doctors, one blatantly crossing the line, the guy was a perv. I realized afterwards his nurse was not in the room, and should have been. I was an adult at the time.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@JLeslie Yes, my concern is solved. I would sometimes want to see a child without the parents, with a nurse present. It sounds, though, that this would not satisfy some people here.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dr_Dredd I would think it is tough to get an abused child alone anyway. Aren’t the parents more likley to not want to leave the child alone if they want to make sure the child sticks to a story and keeps a secret?

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@JLeslie Sure. That’s why any parent refusing to leave like many people here say they would do would raise red flags.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dr_Dredd Oh, I see, I must have missed that inference if you made it before. But, you would not be seeking to be in a room alone with a child unless there were other red flags anyway I would guess.

Dr_Dredd's avatar

@JLeslie True, indeed.

Ron_C's avatar

We always went in with our children when they were examined. We never even thought about our kids being molested, we were just concerned parents and wanted to know what was wrong with our kids.

I never heard of letting your child go alone to the exam room. When our girls got older, that job was left for my wife, first because she’s a nurse and secondly because I did not feel comfortable with my girls being undressed when I was present.

JLeslie's avatar

@Ron_C How much older? When did they begin being examined without your wife present? I think that started happening for me around the age of 14 or 15?

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