MY pet peeve du jour…I am talking with a parent in the office and the child is simply not obeying. The dad turns to her and says, “If you don’t stop, then the doctor is going to give you a shot!” No, I am not going to give you a shot if you misbehave. I AM going to give a shot no matter the behavior to keep your child healthy! This is so confusing to your child. And does this top the disruptive behavior? No, the anxiety escalates and now the behavior is anxiety fueled. Then when I am trying to get a good exam of your child’s ear it becomes a struggle…she is thinking, ‘Why is she getting so close to me? Is the doc going to give me a shot?’ So, what is the next phrase I hear rather frequently…?positive-thinking-b

“Here comes the mean nurse…!”

This is another phrase that can set up an automatic anxiety reaction that will last for a long time whenever they come into the office. When this same ‘mean nurse’ calls your child’s name to come and get weighed at the next visit, your child flips out! Good luck on capturing a correct weight or height. In addition, later in your parenting life when your child is afraid of something…for example, the dark, and you tell her that you are here for her and will protect her…what does she think?…’well, you didn’t protect me from the mean nurse.’ So your words of comfort may be meaningless to her.

As we all know there are experiences and office visits that just do not go well no matter what we say or do for some children.

However, let’s turn office visits into a positive experience as much as possible.

Try different phrases…’I am disappointed how you are acting in front of the doctor’ and then I WILL pipe up and concur with you and say something like, ‘Can you listen to your dad?’, or ‘Here is the nurse to help us stay healthy’.

Our words are very powerful. So make sure that words actually will match consequences.