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Teens (13 years and over)

Adolescents are becoming more independent and like to be informed about what is happening to them. They are interested in knowing about their surgery and are looking for more detailed explanations. Parents and teens can work together as partners, to seek out information and make health care decisions.

Teens may be concerned about:

  • the surgery and its risks
  • privacy
  • body image
  • relationships with friends
  • loss of control

To prepare your teenager for surgery:

  • Teens are interested in knowing what is happening to their body. Provide clear, straightforward explanations in language your child can understand.
  • Talk about how the surgery may affect your teen's daily activities, interactions with peers and explain any life-style changes.
  • It is important to acknowledge your teen's concerns about how the surgery might change his or her looks.
  • Be open and honest. Teens may become upset if they think people are keeping something from them.
  • Encourage your teen to be involved by asking doctors and nurses questions. Some teens may not want to ask questions or admit they don't understand something. This can lead parents to believe their teen understands more than they actually do. Your teen may find it helpful to prepare a list of questions before coming to the hospital.
  • Reassure your teen that the hospital staff will respect his or her need for privacy, whether it concerns sharing personal information or changing into the hospital pyjamas.
  • Although teens are becoming independent, they still need your support. Encourage your teen to express any feelings. Keep in mind your teen may choose to keep some of his or her feelings private. Reassure your teen that fear, anger and tears are normal.
  • Have your teen bring a few comfort items from home - books, music, a journal, a blanket, pillow or stuffed animal.
  • Help your teen relax using music, deep breathing or imagery.
  • Have your teen go to Just for Teens - Tips for Surgery for information on how to prepare and view the Day of Surgery - Photo Tour to know what to expect on the day of surgery. For more information view our list of books and resources.

Toddlers | Preschoolers | School Age Children | Teens