Annual physicals for children are important because they are a way for doctors and parents to assess a child’s growth and development and address any possible concerns.
When Julie Venn took her 13-year-old daughter Riley to the doctor she was excited.
“The coach in me has loved seeing her strength and size finally come along and the mom in me has loved watching this beautiful young girl begin to become a young woman,” she shared with the Facebook page Moms of Tweens and Teens.
But her excitement quickly disappeared when the nurse practitioner began asking Riley questions.
The first part of the physical went smoothly. The physician’s assistant took Riley’s vitals, but when the nurse practitioner walked into the room something changed.
“She begins by asking many questions- whats your bedtime? How much exercise do you get? Are you involved in sports? Do you get enough dairy in your diet? She asks her multiple times- anything else going on I should know about?”
Riley responded “honestly” and explained that during the coming school year she planned on playing two sports.
Venn said that the nurse then questioned Riley about her previous school year, and again Riley answered honestly saying that it was difficult for her.
After asking about the 13-year-old’s period she asks her to explain something.
“Tell me RILEY, HOW CAN YOU EXPLAIN ALL OF THIS WEIGHT YOU’VE GAINED?”
Both mother and daughter were speechless.
The nurse listed a number of possible reasons for Riley’s weight gain, but before she could go any further Venn couldn’t take it anymore.
“STOP! You need to stop talking to my daughter about her weight. She is 13, she is strong. She is healthy and she is PERFECT. You need to move on!”
Once the nurse completed the exam, she asked Venn to follow her into another room. She then questioned Venn’s reaction.
In the Facebook post, Venn said she and her daughter left the doctor’s office and planned never to return.
“Riley’s response when we left was ‘Mom, this is why kids have anorexia or feel like they want to hurt themselves.’”
You can read Venn’s full post here.
Instead of talking down to Riley, the nurse should have explained how everyone is different and that’s what makes us all uniquely perfect. There was no reason for her to criticize a 13-year-old’s weight.
Riley is right. That kind of attitude is why children and teens have low self-esteem.
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