Dr. Joy Brown Speaks with a Mom whose Son Fears Doctors
Dr. Brown: Tracy, you're on the air. I'm Dr. Joy Brown, hi. Tracy: Hi, thank you for taking my call.
Dr. Brown: Sure.
Tracy: I have a year-and-a-half old son, and he's the oldest. I'm going to have another baby this month. Dr. Brown: My goodness.
Tracy: I wanted them close together.
Dr. Brown: Apparently so.
Tracy: He's developed a fear of the doctor and small offices, because of the shots, and they get twenty before age two. So I'm not sure if-when I go to the doctor with the new baby-if I should leave him home, or take him, because he's not supposed to get any more shots until he's four. Dr. Brown: Well, it may be a great idea to take him, with the idea being that you get to be the big brother, and you get to also set up an environment where he gets to go to the doctor's office and maybe get a lollipop, or the nurses will play with him, so he associates positive phenomenon with the doctor's office, rather than just negative. Tracy: That sounds good. He loves the lobby.
Dr. Brown: Yeah, and you can say to him, "You don't have to see the doctor, but you may want to hold your brother or sister's hand while they get to see the doctor. You can read him a story," and it reaffirms his role as a big brother, and also offsets the negative phenomenon with positive, so that he doesn't become phobic about doctors. It's certainly not unusual for kids. I can remember my pediatrician never gave me a shot, he always had his nurse Gloria do it.
Tracy: Well, that's right, but now the pediatrician can't even check his eyes and ears, he just does that to everybody. Dr. Brown: Yeah, but again, that's a good reason for why he should go and be really brave and show his brother or sister that they're going to be okay, and he can hold their hand, and the doctor's not going to give you any shots at all. You can say to him if you want, "You can stay home, or you can come and be big brother, and the doctor's not going to even see you." It's also a great reason why you buy kids doctor's kits. Tracy: I did that. He's a little less fearful of it when we played with it. Dr. Brown: Sure.
But again, as I said, my pediatrician was really wise. I remember the dreaded Gloria who gave me all my shots, and I remember to this day. Second of all, the kids around a year and a half become phobic about strangers anyway, so that's a normal phenomenon, but I think this is a great opportunity for him to get to play big brother, and "the doctor isn't going to give you any shots, and you get to hold your baby brother or sister's hand, and tell them how brave you were when you had your shots." So it's a great opportunity for him to be a little bit more mature about the situation and a little less phobic about it. Tracy: Okay.
Dr. Brown: Okay?
Tracy: Thank you.
Dr. Brown: Happy new baby.