Thursday, June 08, 2006

Parental Indignation

Teenagers, eh.

It's quite ususal to see boys, even in their late teens, brought to surgery by their mums. It's well known, and generally true, that teenage lads don't communicate well, or, often, intelligibly to us older types, without a mum present to translate.

It's not unusual to see girls also brought by their mums, at least up to age 16, though often not for much longer after that... if the consultation starts with daughter looking at her shoes and mum saying "I'll tell him shall I?" you can bet it's going to be about "Pills" or "Periods". If it starts with mum saying "You'd better tell him..." they're going to be pegnant. Any other introductory remark and you know it's going to be a normal consultation about ordinary stuff. They still sit there and look at their shoes though.

The ones you have to watch out for are the ones where you get Shoe-Gazey-Teen and Mum and Dad. These will always go badly. With the lads it will be "Drugs" or "Madness" which very often ends up being "Drugs" too, though not always. With the lasses there's a whole spectrum to choose from. There's "Not eating", "Binge Eating", "Self Harming", "Drugs / Booze", or, as this morning;

"Pregnant and on Drugs".

An hour later they left, still apparently talking to one another, though there was a tense stand off 30 minutes in when Dad wanted to talk all about STIs, just to put the boot in a bit more. Unfortunately I didn't have time to ask him to go back to his room for time out (1 minute per year of his age and he'd still be there now!). Five minutes had to suffice, during which he could still be heard huffing and puffing Big-Bad-Wolf-like from the other side of the door....

In reality the daughter, though perhaps a little unrealistic in her expectations, has accepted an urgent antenatal referral to at least seek counselling, assures me she has not "used" since she found she was expecting, and seems to have managed to cling on to a slim thread of self esteem so far.

I find it interesting, and perhaps a tad dissapointing that the one near constant all all such "three handed" consultations is the parental indignation at the position they find themselves in.

7 comments:

Shinga said...

It shouldn't, but that gave me a welcome laugh. I often work with young boys who wear hoodies-I only get glimpses of their faces as they do the shoe-gazey routine.

More often than not (it seems), if I have 2 parents in attendance, it is because they are separated and need to attend to learn how to implement the various recommendations when the child is staying in the different households. The children who are particularly sad are the ones whose parents say, "We thought his behaviour was improving. Then he started being restless, up at all hours. He's not sleeping, we don't know what's going on". It is not unusual for general conversation to reveal that the deterioration started when X went to stay with Dad and met the new girlfriend, or v.v. for the mother.

Some parents are distraught when they discover what is happening in the lives of their children. However, it seems to be less acceptable that children manifest their own reactions to what is going on in the lives of their parents and all around them.

Regards - Shinga

Doctor Jest said...

shinga-- funny how often the attending parents in these scenarios are separated. Then again perhaps not... Also their indignation I rather take as pathognomonic...

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