Family Medicine Vs. Pediatrics: What Is The Difference?

When it comes to the field of medical care for children and adolescents, two primary specialties often come to mind: Family Medicine and Pediatrics. While both disciplines focus on the health and well-being of young patients, they differ in their approach, scope, and training. 

The Differences Between Family Medicine And Pediatrics

Understanding the distinctions between Family Medicine and Pediatrics can help patients and parents make informed decisions about the type of care they seek for their children. Here at Wake Forest Pediatrics, we have helped identify some of the differences between the two. 

Scope and Focus

Family Medicine 

Family medicine is a comprehensive medical specialty that encompasses care for patients of all ages, from newborns to the elderly. Family Medicine physicians, also known as family doctors, are trained to address a wide range of medical issues across various organ systems. They provide primary care, preventive services, and ongoing management of chronic conditions for patients throughout their lifespan. This specialization places a strong emphasis on building long-term relationships with patients and their families, often allowing a single physician to care for multiple generations within the same family.


On the other hand, pediatrics is a specialty dedicated exclusively to the care of infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatricians focus on the unique medical, emotional, and developmental needs of young patients. They monitor growth and development, provide immunizations, and address acute and chronic illnesses specific to the pediatric population. The scope of Pediatrics is concentrated on ensuring that children achieve their optimal health and developmental milestones as they progress from infancy to adolescence.

Training And Expertise

Family Medicine

Family Medicine physicians undergo a broad-based training that covers various medical specialties, including internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, surgery, and pediatrics. This training equips them with the skills to manage a diverse range of health conditions in patients of all ages. Family Medicine doctors are trained to provide comprehensive care that considers the individual within the context of their family and community, emphasizing a holistic approach to healthcare.


Pediatricians, on the other hand, undergo specialized training exclusively in the care of children and adolescents. Their education focuses on child growth and development, pediatric diseases, and the unique medical needs of young patients. This specialized training enables pediatricians to offer targeted care tailored to the specific health challenges that arise during childhood.

Patient-Centered Care

Family Medicine

Family Medicine and Pediatrics both prioritize patient-centered care, but their approach differs due to their patient populations. Family Medicine practitioners emphasize the importance of continuity of care and building strong doctor-patient relationships over time. They aim to provide a medical home for the entire family, allowing for a more comprehensive understanding of the patient’s health history and family dynamics.


Pediatricians place a strong emphasis on creating a child-friendly and comfortable environment. They are skilled in communicating effectively with children, addressing their unique emotional and developmental needs, and involving parents or guardians in the care process. Pediatricians often play a crucial role in promoting healthy habits and preventing childhood illnesses through education and guidance.

Specialized Services

While Family Medicine physicians can provide care for pediatric patients, there are instances where specialized care is required. Pediatricians are trained to diagnose and treat conditions that are unique to children, such as growth disorders, developmental delays, and childhood infections. They also have expertise in managing pediatric emergencies, handling emotional and behavioral issues specific to children, and offering guidance on age-appropriate nutrition and physical activity.

Wake Forest Pediatrics is committed to providing quality care to your kids at all times on a wide array of subjects. Do you have more questions on medical care for your children? Call our Wake Forest office at 919-556-4779 or our Knightdale office at 919-266-5059 to make an appointment.

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