doctor reading clinic folder, isolated on grey background

Single Mom Slice of Life:
The Doctor Is In


Are you having sex?

The answer to this question, or rather, the fact that the question was even asked granted me high praise from our local pediatrician.

See, it’s that time of year, the start of school (here in Arizona, school starts the first week of August), which means it’s time for a physical. Justin, my hypochondriac of a son, was appalled by the idea in public, but as soon as no one was looking, he began making his list of questions to ask while having a doctor focused solely on him.

This is the same boy that swore he was losing oxygen when he scraped his ankle, had to be told by the nurse that it is NOT ok to check his temperature eight times a day, and is so well known that the doctor has been known to stay late just to make sure he sees Justin because, “there are no other kids quite like Justin.”

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Anyway, Justin is about to start his sophomore year of high school. This appointment (which was scheduled for 15 minutes but because it’s Justin lasted 60) also included the obligatory questions about video games, after school activities, a lecture on the safety of internet usage, making good grades, and the obligatory:

Do you smoke? 

Justin answered without batting an eye. “Ugh, no it’s gross. That’s just wrong. You know it’s bad for you, right?”

(see why the doctor sticks around when he sees our name show up on the schedule?)

Do you drink? 

Again, Justin was more than honest in his response as he pointed at me. “Nope.  She does though.” Gee. Thanks.

The doctor, trying to hide his amusement while I tried to sink into the corner, continued his interrogation.

So… tell me about… the girls. Do you… you know? 

Well, actually, no he didn’t. The doctor was hemming, hawing, and hinting. Justin needs straight questions. He looked at me, raised his brow, and shrugged his shoulders.

I looked him in the eye and asked, “Are you having sex?”

To which Justin replied, “Oh. Nope. Why?”

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The doctor gave me a very surprised look. He explained that in all his years of practice, this was only one of a handful of times that he had not only heard the sex question asked by the mom, but answered so frankly (not fearfully) by the kid. He said that the kids either shift and don’t answer, or the parents ask to leave the room during that question.

I was given a pat on the back for having a kid who clearly knew his convictions, and was so comfortable in his own skin. It was a confusing moment for both Justin and I. We’ve had our talks, we’ve joked within the privacy of our own home (he once told his brother that he wasn’t raisin’ no babies so don’t forget to wear a condom), and we’ve discussed that it doesn’t matter who you love, as long as they make you happy.

I’ll be honest – I was a little surprised to find out that the doctor – who sees as many kids as he does – felt it necessary to compliment someone on having a good relationship with their kid. Doesn’t everyone? Aren’t these normal discussions to have? Aren’t all kids as frank and honest with their doctors as they are with their parents?

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No, they’re not… and that makes me a little sad. I understand now that even though it’s not perfect, I have the relationship with my kids that I do because of those conversations, and thanks to the honesty we share. In any case, Justin didn’t care sharing… he just wanted – even at fifteen years old – a sucker from the nurse. If he has to answer questions about sex from his mom, it’s a price he’s willing to pay.

What about you? Do you and your kids have frank and honest discussions about smoking, drinking and sex? Would your kid ask you to leave the room? Would you want to?