The Basics: Overview
Teens ages 15 to 17 need to go to the doctor or nurse for a “well-child visit” once a year.
A well-child visit is when you take your teen to the doctor for a full checkup to make sure he is healthy and developing normally. This is different from other visits for sickness or injury.
At a well-child visit, the doctor or nurse can help catch any problems early, when they may be easier to treat.
To make the most of your teen’s visit:
- Gather important information
- Make a list of questions for the doctor
- Know what to expect from the visit
- Help your teen get more involved in the visit
What about cost?
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, insurance plans must cover well-child visits. Depending on your insurance, your teen may be able to get well-child checkups at no cost to you. Check with your insurance company to learn more.
The Basics: Child Development
How do I know if my teen is growing and developing on schedule?
Your teen’s doctor or nurse can help you identify “developmental milestones,” or signs to look for that show your teen is developing normally. This is an important part of the well-child visit.
Some developmental milestones are related to your teen’s behavior and learning, and others are about physical changes in your teen’s body.
See a complete list of developmental milestones for your teen.
The Basics: Behavior Changes
What are some changes I might see in my teen’s behavior, feelings, and relationships?
Developmental milestones for teens ages 15 to 17 include:
- Less time spent with parents or family, and more time spent with friends
- Less fighting with parents than during ages 13 and 14
- More worry about the future (like going to college or finding a job)
- More interest in romantic relationships and sex
- Trying new things, including experimenting with tobacco, alcohol, or drugs
This is also a time when some teens may start showing signs of depression, anxiety, or eating disorders. Your teen may also have a girlfriend or boyfriend.
The Basics: Physical Changes
What are some physical changes my teen is going through?
Teens ages 15 to 17 are usually either finished or close to finishing puberty. Puberty is when a child’s body develops into an adult’s body.
Although it may be different for some teens, most girls finish puberty by age 15. Most boys finish puberty by age 16.
Teens might not ask you questions about sex, their bodies, or relationships. That’s why it’s a good idea for you to start the conversation. You can also encourage your teen to ask the doctor or nurse questions about body changes.