Parenting Teens: Helping Your Tween/Teen Graduate from their Pediatrician

Dr. Hipke wants your whole family to benefit from graduating up to Teen Primary Care!

Parenting teens has become increasingly complex.  I am here to help you and your teen.  It would be an honor to be your teen's doctor.

Little kids and parents often love their doctor who has cared for them since they were young.  There is a relationship that serves everyone well.  If tweens and teens have that and are on a good life road, I recommend you stay with your current doctor.

My Adolescent Medicine clinic helps the preteens / tweens / teens that need the extra care or are having difficulty in some way.  Here are some examples.

Teens who 'graduate' up to The Adolescent Care Team are given a unique opportunity to

  • Learn how to care for their health and safety
  • Discover wellness
  • Develop their own Game Plan to deal with the difficulty they are experiencing

Teens become the focus and parents are partners in that growing process.  Because I am a Primary Care Internist, your teens gets the best of both worlds:  a caring Medical Doctor to handle health needs and a Teen LIfe Coach who can teach Life Skills needed to solve problems...all in one office.

Even younger preteen / tweens like the idea of moving up to an 'older' office!

Instead of viewing teens as a 'little kid's pediatrician', I help teens and parents move forward toward adulthood.  (That can scare many parents who aren't ready to see their teen grow up!)  I will support those parents and help them grow, too.

Ready to Graduate?
5 Steps to Take to See Dr. Hipke

  1. Complete the New Patient Request Form .  I will personally and confidentially review it and contact you within 1-2 business days.
  2. When the appointment is made, let our new patient know it is time to step up a level to a new doctor who will be their Medical Doctor / Wellness Coach / Teen Advisor all under one roof.
  3. Let your child read through this website to become familiar with Teen Medicine.
  4. Complete the New Patient paperwork and gather up all the shot records needed.
  5. See you soon!

Guiding Teenagers:  The Secret Weapon

The secret weapon to accomplish the Game Plan is time.  Most doctors spend less than 7 minutes with teens and may never ask about their daily lives.  I spend all the time needed to help teens through difficult situations.  I always meet with parents at every visit.

I use guidelines crafted by the American Medical Association called Guidelines for Adolescent Preventive Services (GAPS) to help guide teens.  You can view the view an excellent review of GAPS here (pdf format).

GAPS has replaced the '10 minute physical' with an important Annual Wellness Visit.  It takes an hour of a family's time and has prevented multiple years of tragedy in several East Texas teens' lives.  If potential problems are uncovered, additional time can be used to create solutions based on a teen's life situation.  Adolescent Medicine is a long-term and dedicated relationship, not a one time visit.


  • please prepare your teen for the visits by letting them know more time will be spent with me than their previous doctor.  The visit will be much more adult-like.
  • prepare your teen for physical exams by going through the process with them before the first visit so they know what to expect.  I perform thousands of physical exams every year.  Lots of health problems can be detected with routine teen exams.  (Teens obviously are very modest and that is a good trait.  Of course female exams will be referred to gynecology as needed.)

Guiding Parents

Adolescent Medicine is for parents, too.  It is difficult to parent a teenager in today's world.  Today's parents deal with problems their parents never even imagined.  Your growing teen will continue facing more hazards while your ability to protect them will decrease.  (That goes against natural parenting instincts!)  I give parents Helpful Parent Hints along the way.

If parents grow with their adolescent, they will transform from a protective parent of a small child to an effective parent of a growing teen.

As teens become adults, they will continue to be more responsible for their lives.  That means they have to prevent problems before they start.  Unfortunately, they will be away from parents when most problems present they need to be empowered to know how to respond.

Your Family Game Plan is important for parents to negotiate the teen years.

Parenting Teens:  Confidentiality

Confidentiality is a big step for most parents but has been proven to be beneficial in Adolescent Medicine.  One study showed 86% of teens would go to their physician for a physical illness without confidentility.  However, only 57% would go for questions about other sensitive issues if their parents were notfified.  Thus, no one (parents nor myself) would be able to guide the student through the difficult time.  They are left to deal with the hard choices by talking with friends, searching the internet, or 'flipping a coin'.

By serving as your teen's physician and unique role model, I can promote healthy directions and empower teenagers to make smart decisions when faced with difficulty from current or past problems.  Parents can help by encouraging their teen to talk about everything with me, even private issues.

Good News!  I also give parents a unique opportunity to openly discuss any topic that is important to them, too!

In order to join the Adolescent Care team, both parents and teens need to agree to the spirit of confidentiality.

Complete trust is extremely hard to build in a one-time visit.  Your teen / tween is growing up in a low-trust society.  (If a new person you just met asked you to reveal everything about your life, how much hesitation would you have?  Teens are even more hesitant!)  If I feel more time is needed to talk, I will recommend Life Skills Visits.

I never replace parents nor come between students and parents.  I always encourage adolescents to discuss problems with parents.  (In fact, students have told me they would have never talked to their parents if they hadn't talked with me first.)

Certain exceptions to confidentiality exist.  In emergencies, life-threatening situations, or when authorities must be contact by law, confidentiality can be broken.  Even then, I will be with teens and parents every step of the way.

Thank you for choosing my office for your teen's care!

› Parenting Teens

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From teens: "I want to say thank you for all you've done to help me since the day I met you..."

From Parents:  "You've been a great example for my sons..."


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