My son is just about 16 months old, but just recently he had his 15 month checkup. It was awful. He kicked, screamed and fought the whole time, just for the checkup (he hadn't even had his FOUR shots yet). The doctor kept reassuring me that it is totally normal (I understood to an extent, but I thought my son was abnormally scared). Since that appointment, there have been two instances where my son has seen a doctor on the television and FREAKED OUT! The first time was on Nick Jr. (not sure what show) the other time was on Sesame Street. A little boy was getting a checkup and when my son saw this on the television I thought he was going to go through the roof. He kicked, he screamed, he clung to me as though he was going to have to relive that last doctor appointment all over again. It really broke my heart! I'm just wondering if anyone else has experienced this and if it's normal. I'm kind of afraid that he may be getting a phobia and I'm wondering if there's anyway I can help him ease this fear before his next checkup at 18 months. It really is awful, I feel so bad for him. Anyone have any advice?? Thanks so much!
Last edited by Klynn1018; 02-25-2010 at 11:34 PM.
I went through the same thing with my daughter when she was that age. She started to realize that doctors meant shots and would cry the entire time we were there. It pretty much went on until she was about 2. At that point there was a break in immunizations. The next couple of visits were just sick visits and she was upset but realized after that she wasn't getting shots every time. Now she actually loves going to the doctor (she started daycare a few months ago and we've had to go a few times due to colds, etc.). Unfortunately, there probably isn't much you can do for your son - at some point, he'll probably calm down. Don't know if he'll get really upset but you may want to see if there are any books on going to the doctor. We bought some for my daughter and it seemed to help as she had a better understanding of what happens when we go. It'll get better - hang in there!
Both of our older children went through a stage where they were afraid of the doctor and would start screaming the second the office came into view, but they were never afraid to the extent that a doctor on TV would upset them. I'm not sure it will work for you, but this is what worked for us:
Buy a toy doctor set and 'practice' going to the doctor. Talk about each step of the check-up with him as you do it and explain to him why it is important and let him practice on you too. If he's too upset to let you, show him on his stuffed animals and encourage him to try being the doctor until he's ready to let you. This may be a good time to start playing dentist too so that he will be ready long before he has to go.
Also at our office the nurses give the shots so they don't associate it with the doctor, if yours is different maybe you could request this.
Last edited by Zack_Jenn; 03-04-2010 at 03:21 PM. Reason: noticed it didn't quite make sense
My DD went through that stage as well. It lasted for longer than I would have expected, but she did eventually come out of it around 36 months. Now, she knows when she's hurt or not feeling well to ask for "Dr. Fowler", its too cute.
Just sooth her, but don't allow too much attention to her being afraid, you don't want to reinforce it. Try to make days with dr visits special somehow, so she has something to look forward to. Don't EVER tell her "It won't hurt" or even introduce the idea of fright or pain, she might not have already thought about that! If your pediatrician is as good as ours, she/he is probably totally used to it and can work through it. It didn't even phase our pediatrician, she just did what she needed to do while attempting to calm my daughter (which didn't work).
Thank everyone for your feedback. It's good to know that my son isn't the only one with such a fear. I know that going to the doctors and being scared at the office is fairly normal. What scared me was how upset he got when seeing one on T.V. I am going to take some of your advice. Hopefully it helps.
... or dentists, for that matter. The best advice I ever received re infants and doctors was from parenting teacher Janet Lansbury. She has an article titled:
"This May Hurt" here Http://bit.ly/8J9fY4 which explains a calm, rational approach that has worked for me and my 3 kids.
i can understand.my two year old use to be like that until i got a play dr kit and played dr with her. She found it fun and now when she gets a stuffy nose she wants to go see the dr. her dr is so nice. She plays and says there are puppys in her ears when she looks in there.
We made going to doctor a fun thing and she loves it
It's kind of the same when I thought about it, some dogs or cats r afraid of cars because the only time they get into a car they go to the vet and get poked and prodded and HEY! that doesn't go there! Sorry I know this seems different but let me explain. Start taking your dog for a fun ride is the advise I heard. I like the idea of the nurse giving the shots, also see if you can just go in for a visit without the poking and prodding, just for fun, may be meet for lunch? Maybe try going to differnt doctors. Just instead of only taking the kid for shots, try just dropping in to say hi. I used to run out of the room and lock myself in the bathroom and refuse to come out until I was guarenteed I would NOT get a shot...oh and as a toddler it took 6, count 'em 6!!! doctors to hold me down. Now I'm on the depo...be assured they will grow out of it, lol.