Saturday, 30 June 2007


Earlier this week on a rare sunny day, a middle aged mother brought her young teenage daughter to see me about her hay fever prescription. It was clear that the daughter didn't want to be there. She sat on the seat furthest away from me with her legs folded under her, refused to look at either me or her mother, and addressed her few brief comments to the walls. I was trying to establish whether her current treatment was satisfactory, which symptoms were not well controlled, and to discuss treatment options. Although participating in this discussion was clearly to her advantage, that fact was overridden by the necessity of maintaining the belief that her mother had forced her to attend a useless consultation.

From one point of view, her wilful refusal to enter into dialogue with someone who was trying to help her in a friendly manner could be seen as rude. From another, her flamboyant teenage huff was delightful. Truly the world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel. But I felt sorry for her mother who was clearly embarrassed by the proceedings, and as they left I said “don't worry about the teenager-itis, she'll grow out of it”. You can never have the last word with teenagers of course, and as she flounced out she said “Hilarious!”

It was indeed quite amusing.


cogidubnus said...

Vicky Pollard then?

Dr Andrew Brown said...


But, no.

Anonymous said...

ahh the amount of times my mam has dragged me down the Dr over hay fever tablets that i dont take and always i would sit in the huff was rather amusing when i sat in on consultations with the same Dr as part of my work experiance who had put up with my moodynes for 3 years made for a great conversation start as i was mervous as anyhting to begin with.

Dr Andrew Brown said...

Sillyvicky: Don't worry, we've all of us been teenagers and some of us have had 'em too. It's a difficult transition to make, and most people get through it pretty well. :-)

XE said...

Oh yes, being dragged to the doctor's office as a teen; I remember it well. Here's my theory, as someone who's just finishing teenagehood:
It's definitely worse being dragged to the clinic than being dragged anywhere else because crosses a line; you're used to your parents monitoring your activities and such, but you begin to feel as if you don't even have control over what happens to your own body, and that all related decisions are not yours to make but are under mum and dad's charge.
The teen wants to be nice to the doctor, and feels bad about acting rudely, but at the same time feels that being cooperative would indicate that the parent's claim over what happens to the teen's body is acceptable, when in the teen's viewpoint it most certainly is not okay. They answer in monosyllables (or answer every question with nothing more than yes or no, which I may or may not have done as a young teen, *cough*) and stare at the floor in an attempt to exert some control over the situation.

Thankfully, then you go off to university, and then when you go to the doctor's it is by choice, and you can be free to be happy and cooperative :)

Dr Andrew Brown said...

That's exceptionally helpful, Xavier. I shall look at my teenage patients in a new light from now on, and hopefully I will be little kinder to them.