How to discuss non-vax status to your children - Mothering Forums

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Old 08-11-2014, 07:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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How to discuss non-vax status to your children

My 7 year old son had two 3 vaccinations and my 3 year old hasn't had any vaccinations. School and sports activities are starting soon and we are doing the required physicals. I have vaccine waivers for my children for school and for sports so that is not the issue.

I am concerned about this now because I know that our appointment is with a doctor who is very pro-vax. Because we are in the military, we can't pick and choose who our doctors will be. Plus, it can be so hard to get a timely appointment, I do not want to push it and try to hold out for a Ped that is more tolerant. I am sure that this doctor will be aggressive about their disagreement to our choice and I don't want my son to be worried or taken by surprise by what this doctor may say.

My oldest is at the age where he is asking in-depth questions about things he hears, which is fantastic. However, I have not had 'the talk' with my son about vaccinations previously just because of his age. I wanted to wait until we could have a more comprehensive discussion (as comprehensive as we can get). Now that we can have this discussion, I am not sure how to go about it. I would love any feedback and guidance as to how any of you went about this with your children.

I guess one of my main worries, aside from worrying about what this doctor may say in front of my child, is that I do not want to have him freely talk about his vax status to his friends and other people. Although I am confident in our decision, I do not want other parents to get freaked out about our children's non-vax status and have him become isolated because of their over-reaction.

Again, would love some guidance and help on this subject. Thanks!
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Old 08-11-2014, 08:33 AM
 
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I have the same issue with my son, who is now 11.
I told him that everyone has the right to choose their own medical care, and I choose not to vaccinate. Everyone else thinks vaccines are good, but I do not. Some people might get upset with you if you talk about vaccines, so it's best not to say anything at all.

Currently, there is much hostility over the vaccine issue. I don't want my kids to suffer, so I feel it is best to keep that private info to myself. This is similar to those times throughout history when hiding personal info was preferable to sharing it freely.....remember the discrimination over AIDS, homosexuality, interracial relationships, etc. The world--or at least the US-- is not ready for vaccine freedom yet. It is up to us adults to try to make the change toward acceptance, but the children should not bear that burden. That's just my opinion, and others might feel it is best to proudly announce vax status. I don't live in an area that is very tolerant, so I think for my family, proudly announcing our non-vax beliefs would do more harm than good.

 
 
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Old 08-11-2014, 09:02 AM
 
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Subbing & hoping to be back to share my thoughts/experiences.

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Old 08-11-2014, 10:34 AM
 
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I don't think that children, if they can be protected, should have to speak up for things like vaccine choice. I agree, that is the parent's job.
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Old 08-11-2014, 12:13 PM
 
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As a lifelong nonvaxer, I was aware of the fact that being a nonvaxer set me apart from the crowd.

No where was this more evident than in the late 1950s when my classmates lined up for vaxes at the nurses' office and I was the only one left behind in the classroom. As a babyboomer, there were 57 students in my class. Sometimes the subject would come up and I was honest when asked; therefore I also learned very quickly, as most recent non- and selective- vaccinators have discovered on these boards, that holding that position is not a popular one.

No one knew what to make of a person who opposed vaccines and openly declined them. Yes, there were classmates with leg braces from polio in my school; there were also classmates who lost an entire school year fighting rheumatic fever.

Today, school students do not see leg braces and the vaccine is given the credit for that. School students do not miss an entire year of school because of rheumatic fever either, so, where is the vaccine for that disease?

As children, I told my chidlren not to discuss the subject with anyone. As adults, I told my children to continue to inform themselves. It never ends.

"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie, deliberate, contrived and dishonest, but the myth, persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."

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Old 08-11-2014, 01:20 PM
 
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As someone who has older kids, I struggle with this.

It is always hard to know (at least with me) how much to share with them. I don't want to bias anyone or have anything come across as indoctrination….

I also do not want to come across as so vehemently against vaccines that I do not look credible. Anything that isn't reasonable, moderate, logical and yes, somewhat based on science is not going to fly with my kids.

I do share very mainstream verifiable facts with my kids on vaccines - such as the flu vaccine efficacy rate. I try not to talk down about vaccines - and will point out that I think things such as a measles vaccine might be a good idea in areas where the disease is very prevalent and where the death rate is high…but that is not *here*. I hope I am laying the foundation for asking critical questions and looking into such things as morbidity and mortality rates.

I can see my children being selective/delayed.

My oldest has been in a relationship for 1.5 years. I don't think I am heading towards grandma-hood any time soon, but once you have older teens, you never know. I hope, desperately hope, actually, that my children find someone with similar views to them.

There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

 

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Old 08-11-2014, 02:23 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fussamama View Post

I am concerned about this now because I know that our appointment is with a doctor who is very pro-vax. Because we are in the military, we can't pick and choose who our doctors will be. Plus, it can be so hard to get a timely appointment, I do not want to push it and try to hold out for a Ped that is more tolerant. I am sure that this doctor will be aggressive about their disagreement to our choice and I don't want my son to be worried or taken by surprise by what this doctor may say.
I realise now I was writing about me, without addressing your concern. Oops!

As he is quite young, I would try and spare him any "bad mommy" speeches a doctor tries to give you.

For starters, you could call up the doctor and let him know ahead of time you are non-vax. Ask if this is a deal breaker. If it is, get another doctor. Why put you or your son through a negative appointment if it is going to go nowhere?

Alternately, you could bring a friend or your partner to the doctors appointment. Doctors are less likely to become overly assertive when there is someone else in the room - someone else watching them who could corroborate any story.

Another idea would be to get the doctor alone before the appointment (perhaps leave child with caregiver in waiting room) and let him know that you are non-vaxxers. You are thrilled to have the appointment and avail yourself of the other services the doctor offers. You are letting the doctor know ahead of time so there is no messy arguement in front of the child. Be respectful, firm, and do not overly get into explanations as to why until such time as you get a better feel for the doctor. If you talk much at all, try to get across that you are:
-reasonably well informed on risks and benefits. If you are well educated in general, I would definitely spill that point as well. Education and class count, sadly!
-devoted to other ways of keeping them healthy, such as good nutrition, exercise, ability to stay home when ill, etc.

There is a battle of two wolves inside us.  One is good and the other is evil.  The wolf that wins is the one you feed.

 

Book and herb loving mama to 1 preteen and 2 teens (when did that happen?).  We travel, go to school, homeschool, live rurally, eat our veggies, spend too much time...


Last edited by kathymuggle; 08-11-2014 at 02:58 PM.
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Old 08-11-2014, 03:18 PM
 
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Here where I live, there are some vaccines administered at school in the 5th and 9th grade. As applejuice has already discussed in her post, this will make the non-vaxxers stand out. As far as vaccine discussions happening between children especially those as young as 7, I think it would be pretty rare.

Vaccines aren't mandatory for school entrance/camps or sports organizations here but every year I write on the school entrance forms under the medical column that they are not to receive any vaccines. My eldest child was injured by his vaccines so I felt it necessary to tell him and his sibling the reasons that we no longer vaccinate. I asked my children during those years of school administered vaccines if their peers asked why they weren't lining up but they both said the kids never asked. One son did have a teacher ask why he wasn't getting vaccines and he just replied "seizures". He said he didn't feel like getting into it with her.

I've felt that even more important than discussing reasons for not vaccinating, was/is teaching my children about autonomy over their bodies. There have been instances in another province where children were coerced into having a vaccine even though the parents did not consent. So I think it is important to give children the tools in case a situation like that comes up. "Use your words and if they don't accept 'NO', use your karate".

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Old 08-11-2014, 06:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you all for taking the time to reply. So far, I haven't had to have a verbal battle with the military doctors that we have to interact with since my oldest was an infant. However, this particular doctor has left me waiting for a couple of hours in the waiting room as she refused to sign a sports physical form due to my son not being vaxed. It was just a form saying that he had had a physical. I already have exemption waivers from the chief medical person on this base so it was ridiculous that she wouldn't sign the form. Finally, they found another doctor willing to do it.

I guess I am getting worked up over what I think may happen. However, it made me realize that I haven't really circled around to have an age appropriate discussion with my oldest about why we do not vaccinate.

I do plan on cutting off any discussions with her by letting her know off the bat that we do not vaccinate due to religious reasons and that I am well informed about our choice. I haven't had a chance to meet her face to face and just want to be prepared. Again, since we are on a base, I do not have control over who we can see for our appointments....I wish that was the case.

Thank you again. I so appreciate the feedback from this site. Everyone's support here has helped me through many situations and I am so grateful.
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:54 PM
 
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I actually had a conversation about this not long ago with my 6 and 8 year old. My youngest asked about "shots". They know they haven't had any, because it came up before. I had told them that they haven't had any because I don't believe they are good for them, or that they really work the way they should. I said that most other kids have had them, and that's OK, because it's what their parents believe. They're used to this type of conversation, because they know they are "different" because they are vegetarian and all their friends eat meat, they've never been to McDonalds, etc. They seem to understand that we do things a bit differently than everyone else. I think if you start young with age appropriate conversations, it just becomes their "normal". My kids are fine with being different. I hope it stays that way!

Non-vaxing, vegetarian, green lovin' mama to two little divas.
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Old 08-12-2014, 10:57 AM
 
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Mine is only 2.5 so we haven't even come close to discussion yet, BUT, I would say that if you state upfront to the doc that you are opposed due to religious reasons and she still insists on discussing, then have someone with you or excuse yourself so that you can remove your LO's from the room to either wait with a friend or sit in the waiting room if you are comfortable, or if need, be, state that you are not comfortable discussing medical things in front of the kids and that if she continues you will have to leave. It's not fair to the kids to have to be a part of that. I know recently there was something floating around a FB page where someone took a picture from a door at a doctors office stating that due to new HIPAA rules, parents were no longer allowed to accompany children into the rooms for physicals....ha! I know how that goes first hand for other things - had a ped ask my mother to leave the room once, I was probably 13 or 14. She started asking crazy questions about my relationship with my parents and if they ever hit me and finally I asked "where are you going with this?". She pointed to a "bruise" on my back. I told her if she looked into my charts she would see that I'd had it biopsied about 3 years earlier and it was a Morphea, a form of Scleroderma that causes excess pigmentation and collagen and hardening of the skin in affected areas. I think I declined my mother leaving the room til I was about 17 and ok with going in by myself...and had also switched from a pediatrician at that point I think by pre-teen most kids are ready to start learning a bit more, but definitely with the advise of "hey, don't just openly share this with friends" and maybe even a "you don't have to answer these types of questions if someone asks you". It's hard enough as an adult to deal with it, never mind being a kid under scrutiny.
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Old 08-16-2014, 07:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I wanted to circle back since I reached out for some assistance.

Of course, it all went smoother than I thought because I was prepared. (Also, I secretly believe that all of my worrying shifted the outcome of this appointment! ha ha ha). I brought the exemption I received from the Chief of Preventative Medicine. It never occurred to me to just bring until 2 a.m. the night before the appointment. I was prepared to give it to her when she came to the part of the physical when they ask about shot records which is exactly what I did. No questions were asked and no discussion was had. I was relieved and will now always have that letter with me so that I can just head off any conversations in front of my children until they are ready.

Thank you again for taking the time to reach out and offer your suggestions and experience. Again, I get so much comfort knowing you all are out there!
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Old 08-20-2014, 03:42 PM
 
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My oldest one (almost 12) could probably hold his own in a vaccine debate. I give them facts (and we practice what to do in certain scenarios.) Example, in California, a child 12+ can legally consent (without a parent's permission) to Hep B and HPV vaccine (since those are considered prevention for STDs.) My younger one is 8.5 and knows why we do not get them but that's about it. My older one has articles on his FB page too, like about HPV, so friends his age can see it (since they are the age when it's being given.)

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