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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ds had his 2 year doctor's check-up today. He was fine in the waiting room but as soon as we got called into the exam room, he lost it. I haven't seen him that upset in a long time. He was clutching onto me for dear life, screaming, and sobbing. I felt HORRIBLE for him. He did this thru the nurse's pre-exam and by the time the doctor came in, he had passed out to sleep in my arms.

The doc finished the exam with him asleep, which I suppose was a good thing. When we got home ds and dh went out and I just sobbed for awhile. I hate that he had to go thru that...it truly broke my heart.

Has anyone else's dc's have this kind or response to the doc? How can I make it better?
 

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My ds's reaction wasn't quite as extreme as your ds, but he was one screaming, crying, frightened boy after his 18-mo appt. I had to take him in unexpectedly a few weeks ago, and what I did was get a book from the library about going to the dr, plus pulled out a magazine I had at home with pictures of kids visiting a medical office. I talked NONSTOP with him for 24 hours
about exactly what would happen, from when we get into the car, through the waiting room, taking his clothes off, getting on the scale, nurse, doctor, etc. I showed him how the dr would "poke" his belly and whatever else I could mimic. We got through it this time with no hysterics.

I'm sorry your son had such a hard time.
 

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I'm sorry he had such a hard time. A doctor's office can be scary even when there are no shots or bad things that happen. My dd2 has been through a LOT medically and she was terrifed of doctors or anyone who even looked like one to her. I bought a doctor kit and we practiced playing doctor at home. She enjoyed being in control for a change. I think part of what's terrifying is they are not in control and have no idea what's going on.
 

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Sorry that your child had such a hard time. I remember what my mom did with younger brother. Before going to the doctor my mom did a one on one talk with my brother about it. She told him what will happen inside the clinic with the doctor and its benefit. Hope other mom could help you.
 

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Did the doctor wear a lab coat? I have heard that it may be less scary for little ones if the doctor is just wearing regular clothes. You might also get one of those doctor kits from the toy store so he will be familiar.
 

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My ds was just like this. Of course, we vax, so I know it was from fear of the shots more than anything else. Just seeing an exam table or a nurse (made me sad) was enough to start him crying. Even when *I* had to go to the doc and be examined myself, and had him along he would get upset.
He has come out of it though. Somewere around 2.9 he reached an "age of reason" where I could explain things to him, and he would get it. Before then, it didn't matter what I said or did, he would freak out regardless.

I am a nurse and have a stethoscope and blood pressure cuff at home, so I would "play doctor" with him. I would go through the motions of listening to his heart, lungs, looking in his mouth and eyes. Then I'd let him do it to me.
That helped.
 

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Good suggestions here! What has helped us:

1) a play doctors kit, where you take turns with who is the doctor at home
2) asking the MD to take off their white coat
3) my dd pretended she was a dog and the MD was a vet (hey, don't knock it, it worked LOL!)

Hope some of this helps
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by VBMama
My ds's reaction wasn't quite as extreme as your ds, but he was one screaming, crying, frightened boy after his 18-mo appt. I had to take him in unexpectedly a few weeks ago, and what I did was get a book from the library about going to the dr, plus pulled out a magazine I had at home with pictures of kids visiting a medical office. I talked NONSTOP with him for 24 hours
about exactly what would happen, from when we get into the car, through the waiting room, taking his clothes off, getting on the scale, nurse, doctor, etc. I showed him how the dr would "poke" his belly and whatever else I could mimic. We got through it this time with no hysterics.

I'm sorry your son had such a hard time.

i did the same thing and ds actually had a *great* time at the doctor. fyi...we read "froggy goes to the doctor" by jonathan london (ds's favorite series of books)
 

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We are fortunate in that our ds (age 7 yo) has no fear of doctors. He hasn't had a shot since he was 7 months old, so he has no associations with doctor=pain.

Do you vaccinate? Did they do something at his last visit that caused him any pain?

If this had been me, I would have just packed him up and left before the doctor even came in. I wouldn't want my child to see me ignoring his terror by staying. ((I'm not being mean to you or any other parent when I say that!!)) If the office visit was for something important, like the child was really sick or injured and needed treatment (stitches), then you might have to march through it.

But, ignoring your child's hysterics that are that severe at a routine exam, to me, sends them a message that their fears are not important to the parent. It's all very well to say "There's nothing to be afraid of!" but to that frightened child, there certainly IS something to be very much afraid of.

As adults, we know there isn't anything in the closet or under the bed to be afraid of (well, I think there isn't, I'm pretty sure there isn't, actually, I never look because, well, um, just because I don't...). Anyway, children can't always express their fears of something because it's just too terrible to even say. Or, they are too young to make it clear to US (dumb adults that don't understand their infant/toddler language). Children EXPECT their parents to make sure they are safe and not hurt. They expect them to make things better when they do get hurt. They do NOT expect their parents to take them someplace to be hurt on purpose, while Mommy/Daddy stand there watching, perhaps even with tears in THEIR eyes. Their little minds can't comprehend this opposite behavior.

Can your child articulate to you what made him so upset? Perhaps you could schedule a visit to the doctor's office that did NOT include going into that exam room first, but into the doctor's office instead, where the doc could simply talk to your son and ask him things NOT related to health or his body. Fun and silly things that interest your son. Perhaps then, the doctor could ask your son if he'd like a tour of the office and see what's there. Show an exam room (have the doc sit on the table and your son on the little stool with wheels!) and let your son look in the doctor's ears and mouth and use the reflex hammer on the doctor's knee.

Any doc that would not want to be understanding and compassionate about easing a child's fears isn't a worthwhile doctor!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thank you all for your responses and support. We did try the doctor's kit and "going to the doctor" story books before hand. Ds didn't like those so much either but I don't think I gave him enough time. It was only a week before hand that we started to "prepare" and as soon as he seemed to get too uncomfortable talking about, reading about, or playing doctor, I would stop pushing it. Maybe if I had introduced the topic slowly like over a few months it would have been better for him.

grahamsmom-
I think what you commented on is the issue that is really troubling me. I HATE that I did not (because for some bizarre reason I think I *could*not*)just stop the whole thing when ds initially became so upset. He was obviously expressing his fear and I let it all happen to him in spite of that. It is as tho I forced him to stay there and "take it".

We do vax. That may be what he was so afraid of but he is also very sensitive to new situations, new people...very slow to warm-up. And everything moves so quickly in tho appointment situations, yk. He's not yet able to explain just what makes him so afraid.

The whole experience really shook me up (and ds of course). I will take everyone's suggestions. Hopefully, he will be more comfortable next time and if he is not...hopefully I will go with my gut and pack up and go.
 

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I agree with the Doctor's Kit idea.

In addition to playing doctor, I allow her to take the kit with her to the doctor, so that she can listen to the Doctor's hb too.
For her 2 year visit, she didn't cry at all, as she got to play doctor with the real doctor.

A good book to read is Aletha Solther's "Helping Young Children Flourish". She recommends using pretend to deal with fears. Also, humor is a good tool. While playing, be really silly and laugh about things that usually make them cry.
 

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Honestly, I don't know that there is *anything* you can do if what your child is afraid of is PAIN caused by shots......now, if you didn't vax, I would be more concerned about there being something else your child was afraid of, and recommend more psychological probing, etc...but really..if your kid gets stuck with very painful shots when he visits the doc, then of course he's going to freak out! I **still** have horrible needle issues (bordering on PTSD) from being vaxxed/injected as a child. In my opinion, it is NORMAL to be afraid of PAIN...he's TWO..do you expect him to be like.."hey, that's the place where the strange people hurt me with needles, YAY, what fun, let's go there!" ??????

Whether it be for vaxxes or some other medical procedure, I think that it is beyond the comprehension of most 2 year olds that "mommy is gonna let these people HURT me"...they just don't understand WHY....and it is heartbreaking to be a parent who has to stand by and watch their child be hurt....I have no real advice except to say that if you are SURE that the reason you are making your child experience pain is a just one...then you simply have to live with it. You have obviously decided that vaxxes are a just reason to inflict pain upon your child. From my sig, you can see I obviously don't agree, but I can respect your informed choice. When your child is older, I believe you can reason/explain it to him...but for now...perhaps trying some of the wonderful suggestions posted previously, if nothing works, then just "marching through it", as stated by grahamsmom98.
 

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My ds does not like anyone he isn't comfortable with invading his personal space, getting too close, or touching him. Going to the doctor has been a real trial for him simply because of the fact that the doctor has to examine him! The worst things for him are having the doctor look in his ears, and, especially, having the doctor look down his throat. We've had a couple of hysterical dr visits.

We have done some playing with his doctor kit, and just playing in general around this theme. One day ds was the doctor and my dh was the patient, and I casually suggested that maybe daddy needed the doctor to look in his throat. Ds went out of the room, returned with a golf ball, and proceeded to cram the whole thing into dh's mouth. That gave me a good glimpse of the kind of invasion he is perceiving it to be when the dr looks down his throat.

My suggestion would be to continue with the doctor play especially *after* the traumatic experience--allow him to process the experience through the play, and allow him plenty of chances to be the "doctor".

I was shocked when we had an extremely positive first dentist visit. I had been so afraid to take ds to the dentist because of the trauma that the dr visits had been. However, we went to a pediatric dentist, and my ds was fully cooperative--he allowed the dentist to take x-rays, and to fully clean his teeth, including using the little scraper thing on them. He did not cry at all. I was completely amazed, but I've decided it's all in the bedside manner of the person doing the examining. His doctor is nice--not a gruff person at all. But the staff at the dentist's office were totally wonderful--they made up funny names for things, such as telling ds that the water pick was a squirt gun and that the suction thing was "Mr. Thirsty". They told him that the x-ray was a little camera and that they were going to take a picture of his teeth. My ds really got into stuff like that and it helped him be totally relaxed. The dentist experience was far more invasive than anything he'd been through at the doctor, but the way they handled it left him totally relaxed. Also, there were so many toys in their office and other fun things that ds was in a great mood from the get-go.
 

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I just wanted to give a follow up. Today I had to take Nitara to the ENT b/c of an ear infection, to see if her tubes were clear. I played ear doctor with her all weekend and so did her sister.

She was so good!! She sat in my lap and totally cooperated with her ears being looked at, and then later she had to go to the lab for another test involving sticking something in her ears. The most she did was rest her hand on the doctor's hand lightly. I cannot believe the difference! It's almost like a miracle!
 
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