Teenaged fans react as Canadian singer Justin Bieber performs at an early morning promotional event in Sydney July 18, 2012. Reuters

Parents who handle teen’s health check-ups may do more harm than good, according to a study at the University of Michigan. The study says that overparenting in the doctor’s office may cause teens to miss out on valuable opportunities that teach them how to take care of themselves.

The poll, conducted by C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, shows that only 34 percent of parents reported their teens discussing health concerns privately unattended and less than 10 percent said their teens can fill out health history form on their own.

40 percent of the parents would consult about health issues without their teens saying a word, while only 15 percent of teens can share health problems with a doctor without guidance. Sarah Clark, associate director of the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health, claims that parents who manage their teen’s health visits discourage learning from experience and confidence.

“Having teens take the lead in responsibilities like filling out their own paperwork, describing their health problems, and asking questions during adolescence helps them gain experience and confidence in managing their health,” Clark said in a press release. “Speaking with the doctor privately is important, not only to give teens a chance to disclose confidential information, but also to provide the opportunity for them to be an active participant in their own health care, without a parent taking over.”

Clark also mentioned that the reason why parents overhandle a teen’s health care visit is because teens are not comfortable talking about these subjects. However, the teen’s reaction stems from the fact that they are not getting much practice.

"Parents are naturally concerned about their child's health and that transition to letting their teens become independent in the health setting can be difficult," Clark added. "But with parents' guidance, these early opportunities will help teens prepare to navigate the health care system and take responsibility for their own health as they get older."

The researchers said that allowing teens to take note of health problems or questions, asking teens to check in at the registration, complete their forms alone and giving time for them to speak to the physician will help teens become more independent. Parenting and youth development expert, Deborah Gilboa, told Parents magazine that letting children struggle, allowing them to be disappointed and helping them work through it will enable the child grow.

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