Monday, September 27, 2010

What Is Your Doctor Asking Your Child?


When your child goes to the doctor, there's usually a time when you are asked to step out of the room. At some medical institutions, a questionnaire of some sort is then given to your child.

I want to say upfront that these questionnaires are not inherently evil. They were not (I hope) designed by someone who hates the family and wants to see the privacy and realm of the American family destroyed. That said, there are some aspects of these questionnaires which make me wary.

Here's a good example: a survey from Utah Valley Pediatrics, which is used across the country (a friend of mine in Pennsylvania showed it to me). The purpose of the surveys, according to its creators, is to help to address problems with domestic violence, low self-esteem, ADHD, etc. They have a number of surveys and guides for parents also available at their website.

What worries me about this questionnaire, designed for children ages 14 and up, is that it asks questions related to personal health, hygiene, and psychological development, but also intrudes into other areas which are not strictly the realm of doctors--in fact, there is little a doctor could do to help in some of these areas.

For example, why do they ask, "Are your grades this year worse than last year?" While I can understand wanting to feel for low self-esteem, there are other places where they do that effectively. Why is this so necessary?

They ask questions like, "Do you or anyone you live with have a gun, rifle, or other firearm," and ask in the same question, "Are you worried about violence or your safety?" Again, I can see a feasible example of where this could be important, but why include the question regarding gun possession, as if there was an automatic connection between the two?

I am afraid that questionnaires like this, administered to children generally instead of upon suspicion of abuse or the like, are being used in a way that conflicts with parental rights. This must change.


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