Why are we going to the doctor, Mommy?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Lulu, Feb 18, 2008.

  1. Lulu

    Lulu New Member

    What do you tell your preschooler when you take him/her for an evaluation or appointment with a behavior-related doctor? N has only been to medical doctors for checkups and obvious physical illnesses. He is a smart kid and I just don't know what to tell him about why we will be going to the behavior clinic at our children's hospital. He will ask at least two days worth of questions about it before, and weeks of questions afterword, I predict. husband and I are both worried that if we handle this the wrong way, N will develop a negative image of himself.

    What are your thoughts and experiences??
  2. SRL

    SRL Active Member

    There's no need to tell him about it before, especially if it's going to cause days of questioning (or in some kids, anxiety). Tell him a little before you leave. Or pack up to do a few errands and head for the hospital after picking off a quick one like driving through the bank. Typically we wouldn't tell most 4 years olds every detail of our weekly routine in advance so there's no need here.

    Most of us worry about the negative self image issue in response to the evaluation and I think the vast majority of the time it winds up being a non-issue. I'm no expert, but I suspect the two key themes of the ODD personality (My way of thinking is the right way, I'm in charge) provide a cushion of protection to many kids in this.

    Especially when kids are young and you really don't have any answers, I favor answers that are broad, that put it into the positive, and that make the issue seem like just another medical issue we see a doctor for.

    Broad (include both positive and negative traits)--We're going to a doctor to learn more about you: we'll probably talk about how smart you are, how funny you are, what makes you angry, what you're good at, what kinds of things you like to play with, etc.

    Positive--This doctor helps families. We're going to talk to him to see if he can help us have less angry time and more time for fun things like _________.

    Doesn't single them out--I distinctly remember answering "Why do I have to see Dr. X today?" like this: Everyone in our family has reasons they need to make some extra trips to the doctor for: Dad sees Dr. Z because he's had a bump on his arm, Mom makes lots of trips to Dr. N' because of her allergies and ear problems, easy child Jr. makes trips to the dentist because her teeth are shaped like V's inside and she gets lots of cavities, easy child Sr. makes trips to the hospital to get his blood tested because he's been so tired, and you're going to see Dr. X because you've been more scared to go to school than the other kids in your class.

    Sometimes there is no answer, you don't know, or the time isn't right for answering--Don't be afraid to say "I don't know" or "Why don't you ask the doctor the next time you see him".

    Hope this helps.
  3. GinAndTonic

    GinAndTonic New Member

    I tell my son that Dr. B is going to help him have fun in school, and be able to do more things he wants to do, like soccer class. I remind him that Dr. B is a talk doctor, and that he'll never give him shots (my son is terrified of shots).
  4. catldy71

    catldy71 New Member

    What I say is along the lines of going to Dr. X to talk about how to help mommy and daddy help you (sometimes I say with school, or with the things that frustrate you etc)
  5. JulienSam

    JulienSam New Member

    Sam hasn't asked the question, but when I tell him where we're going I simply say that this Dr. will help us figure out why Sam gets angry/frustrated and how we can make that better for kindergarten in the fall. He seems to accept this with-o any other questions. Good luck!
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    My difficult child caught on pretty quickly that the appointments were all about HIM. He liked it. Thought it was great to be so different that he got a special doctor who just talked to him and mommy (and daddy when he could go). Made him think he was just all that and more.

    So we had little trouble getting him there. By age 12 or so he refused to talk, so we quit taking him. It fried him that his sister, bro and I still went and he HAD to sit outside in the waiting room.

    Hope things go smoothly.

  7. Lulu

    Lulu New Member

    Thanks for sharing your ideas, ladies. I'll let you know how it goes.