Talk to Your Child's Physician


We are in charge of the health of our children. Parenting is a lifelong privilege and responsibility that challenges us daily to make informed choices for our children. Doctors have the best intentions for supporting parents in this role, and function within a medical system that can create unintended negative consequences when it enables the misdiagnosis and overmedication of otherwise healthy children.

It takes courage to question whether the medical system is doing its best for your child, especially when you don't doubt your doctor's expertise and good intentions. It can be daunting to think about asking him or her questions about the effectiveness of the treatment plan, especially when you want to maintain the best relationship with all of the health professionals working with your child.

As a parent, it’s our job to be our children’s best advocates. There are ways to enter this dialogue with our doctor that are respectful and sensitive. A competent, confident doctor appreciates a knowledgeable parent who communicates his or her concerns appropriately and effectively. Keep collaboration and partnership in mind when you ask your physician any questions or share your concerns about the treatment plan, and use this guide to help you start the conversation.

To print the Physicians Conversation Guide, download it here.


Many physicians will prescribe medication(s) for your child, with good intentions, based on the assumption or knowledge of the medical diagnosis that he/she thinks your child may have to explain the symptoms. However, did they explain possible side effects? Physicians may not take children off of a medication after prescribing it due to various reasons, even if your child does not seem better after medication use or no longer has the symptoms.


  1. We followed your advice and used the medication(s) that you prescribed for our child consistently since our last visit with you. However, we are discouraged as he/she continues to have the same symptoms and does not seem better. What can this mean? At this point, does that change your mind about what you thought you were treating? What are our best options?
  2. We have been using medication(s) you prescribed for our child consistently since our last visit. We are pleased that his/her symptoms seem to have decreased. Does this mean that he/she for sure had the diagnosis for which you prescribed the medication(s)? How long do you think my child needs to stay on the medication(s)? What are the long-term side effects which have been reported? Are there alternative treatment options? What is the long-term prognosis of this diagnosis?
  3. We noticed that despite taking the medication(s) consistently, our child is not better. We also feel frustrated that our child has been prescribed and is now on many medications. How can we be more certain that he/she really needs all these medications? Are there more tests that can confirm or rule out whatever diagnosis he/she is being treated for? Should we consider seeing a specialist and if so, which ones?