How can healthcare professionals provide guidance and support to parents of adolescents? Results from a primary care-based study

BMC Health Serv Res. 2021 Mar 20;21(1):253. doi: 10.1186/s12913-021-06200-1.


Background: This study explored the rewards and difficulties of raising an adolescent and investigated parents' level of interest in receiving guidance from healthcare providers on parenting and adolescent health topics. Additionally, this study investigated whether parents were interested in parenting programs in primary care and explored methods in which parents want to receive guidance.

Methods: Parents of adolescents (ages 12-18) who attended an outpatient pediatric clinic with their adolescent were contacted by telephone and completed a short telephone survey. Parents were asked open-ended questions regarding the rewards and difficulties of parenting and rated how important it was to receive guidance from a healthcare provider on certain parenting and health topics. Additionally, parents reported their level of interest in a parenting program in primary care and rated how they would like to receive guidance.

Results: Our final sample included 104 parents, 87% of whom were interested in a parenting program within primary care. A variety of parenting rewards and difficulties were associated with raising an adolescent. From the list of parenting topics, communication was rated very important to receive guidance on (65%), followed by conflict management (50%). Of health topics, parents were primarily interested in receiving guidance on sex (77%), mental health (75%), and alcohol and drugs (74%). Parents in the study wanted to receive guidance from a pediatrician or through written literature.

Conclusions: The current study finds that parents identify several rewarding and difficult aspects associated with raising an adolescent and are open to receiving guidance on a range of parenting topics in a variety of formats through primary care settings. Incorporating such education into healthcare visits could improve parents' knowledge. Healthcare providers are encouraged to consider how best to provide parenting support during this important developmental time period.

Keywords: Adolescents; Parenting support; Parents; Primary care.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Delivery of Health Care
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Parenting*
  • Parents*
  • Primary Health Care