Tips for consulting young people

Here are practical tips to help you as a clinician care for your pediatric patients and their families.

The aim is to get down to their level, know your patient, be approachable and invite exploration and questions. 

Value their views

Recognise young people’s views are important. Ask them for their opinion in front of their parents and value their response.

Give them time

Be sure to start seeing young people by themselves from when they are ready (around 14 years old). Allocate 5-10 minutes of the consultation to them and increase the time with subsequent appointments.

Complete a HEEADSSS interview

The interview resource is available in this guide and will help assess psychosocial strengths and vulnerabilities and their impact on health.

Encourage self-management

Talk through how to recognise when they are unwell and what to do about it, including how to manage stress, low mood and anxiety. 

Independence and support

Discuss how the balance of independence versus family/carer support changes with time and circumstances.

Normalise their new sense of self

Normalise young people’s exploration of limits/risk taking, altered sleep patterns, and changeable moods. This is an expected developmental stage.

Talk about safety measures, healthy sleep and eating habits and regular exercise.

Respect their privacy

Talk about confidentiality to enhance trust. Young people can provide informed consent from as young as 14 years old.


Talk about puberty and its impact on their chronic condition.


Give praise and constructive feedback; be optimistic while also recognising challenging conditions.

Last updated Tuesday 28th November 2023