As your child moves from elementary school to middle school, their body and interests change, and our parenting changes along with them. As pediatricians, the way we care for your child changes as well. We assess for risky behavior, counsel on safety and discuss a large number of developmentally appropriate topics.
As your child moves to middle school, there will be a number of vaccines that we will discuss and recommend:
Now required by North Carolina before middle school entry, this protects children against tetanus as well as pertussis, or “whooping cough”
A second dose of this chicken pox vaccine is recommended before adolescence
Protecting against a family of viruses that causes genital warts has also been shown to greatly reduce a young womans chance of getting cervical cancer. It is a three-dose series
This meningitis vaccine is becoming a required vaccine for college entry. It lasts for at least 10 years, so we are currently giving it in middle school.
- Hepatitis A
This viral infection leads to vomiting and diarrhea, along with the liver infection. It can be obtained from food contaminated from an infected person or from certain other high-risk behaviors. It is a two-dose series.
It’s never too early to talk to your child about being an adolescent and becoming a young adult. The hardest part is starting the conversation. KidsHealth.org offers some great resources for you and your children to navigate their growth together.
Please take time to check out The Center for Young Women’s Health for valuable information on hundreds of teenage issues your young woman may be facing.
There has been recent concern about a new “game” adolescents play called the choking game. Like any risky behavior, parents need to educate themselves about the signs of such behavior.
If you are interested in discussing contraception for your child, we have many providers that are available and willing to discuss the various means of contraception. We can prescribe oral contraceptive pills and depo injections. As of September 2015, we have a provider in each office that is qualified to insert the Nexplanon implant. If you have questions about any of these methods of contraception, please call our office to schedule an appointment.
Transitioning to Adult Care
Perhaps one of the most important things we can teach our children is to prepare them to be an adult. That includes treating them like an adult in the doctors office. This means that we will often have conversations with the teenagers in the room by themselves to help them become accustomed to talking with a doctor. As your children get closer to 21, then we will start preparing the transition to adult medicine, increasing the child’s responsibility in their own care. The website Got transition, has lots of resources for parents and teens to prepare them for this transition.