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Helping Your Child to Trust the Doctor

A child will follow their parents' example in most things. It is up to you, the parent, to set the tone of a child's relationship with the pediatrician. You want your child to know that a doctor is a good guy and has the best interests of the child at heart; even if the visit has some uncomfortable aspects.Children do not understand why a doctor will put something shockingly cold on their chest, like the stethoscope. Doctors will also put things in the child's ears and will look in the child's mouth and sometimes shine a light in the child's eyes. These are uncomfortable things, but nothing compared to the vaccinations at the end of nearly every visit. Your child needs to know that all of these things are for the child's own good. When a child is too young to understand explanations, they will rely about the parent's nonverbal cues on how to react to a situation. A parent should be very careful of their own attitudes.Be generally happy and relaxed about the whole doctor's visit. When the doctor enters the room, greet him or her in a friendly manner. Call the doctor by name. A relationship is friendlier if you use each other's names, and this will also teach the child the doctor's name. After the visit with the doctor, be sure to thank the doctor. This will support the idea that the doctor has helped the child, and that the doctor is a good person. If something is going to happen that may hurt, like a shot, do not tell the child it will hurt, and do not tell him or her it will not hurt. Just be quiet and let the child decide for themselves. If something is going to happen that is not going to hurt, do not say that it is not going to hurt. This plants an insinuation that there is a possibility of feeling pain in the situation. When at home, especially when unpleasant medicine or treatments follow, continue to treat the doctor as a good guy. Do not say the child must take the medicine because the doctor says so. The child must take the medicine because it is helpful, and the parents and the doctor together say so. Never threaten medicine, a doctor's visit or a shot as some kind of punishment for the child's behavior.With a little common sense your child will pick up on your attitudes and be less fearful of the doctor. A good example from the parent goes a long way to alleviate a child's stress in strange situations. In the long run this will make for a happier child. 

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