Moms Should Avoid Crying at Doctor Visits for Kids: 5 Reasons to Stop Now

Dr. Momma discusses 5 reasons mothers should avoid crying at doctor visits for kids unless they are receiving devasting life and death news.

It is a fact that moms cry! A lot. Crying in front of children is often viewed as a parenting choice. Some moms choose that they are going to routinely cry in front of their kids to demonstrate their emotions. Some suggest you should have guidelines for when it appropriate for your kids to see you cry.

I believe the consensus is that there are times that kids will see parents cry, but there will not be a meltdown with “ugly” crying. One thing that is for sure, moms should avoid crying at doctor visits for kids.

Now, there are some serious occasions where crying at doctor visits for kids is expected because, with bad news, nearly everyone in the room is crying. Doctors and nurses often cry with empathy along with the parents. But, unless your child has a severe medical problem, you should attempt to pull yourself together and avoid crying at doctor visits for kids.

 

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Many kids have a deep fear of going to the doctor; consequently, the focus should be helping them to face their fears and work through them. It is an added burden for you to add your own emotions on top of theirs. Moms need to avoid crying at doctor visits for kids and work had to not give into the temptation to cry along with them. Of course, everyone understands that it hurts you to see your child cry, but you need to rise up to be the comforting parent, not the co-cryer!

Sadly, there are times where a child has not yet cried, but mom has started crying and sharing her personal fears. As expected, this encourages the child to now cry.

Doctors need moms to be a lifeline for their kids during their visit. When kids feel scared, they need to see your confident face and know that everything will be okay. It’s like when kids fall down. Do you rush to check their scraped knee? Or are you calm and reassuring with encouragement to shake it off?

I am a surgeon and recommend surgical procedures regularly. I  frequently have crying moms which can make the visit more complex. Sometimes, I spend more time calming mom than the child. Going between cryers can be difficult since the reasons for crying may be different for each person.

5 reasons moms need to stop crying at doctor visits for kids

1. Your child cries with you, and no one is listening anymore

Once you start crying, it is a matter of time that your child will either start crying or become concerned and start to comfort you. Either way, no one is listening to the words the doctor is sharing. In order to fully process the situation, you need to understand the facts, which you are missing while crying.

2. You bring up past memories and refresh a healed wound

Once a mom starts crying, she is often embarrassed and then begins to share why she is emotional. This frequently includes previous bad experiences the child has had. However, now this new experience is forever tied to the previous bad experience. We do not need a link to bad experiences.

Along with attempts to avoid crying, moms should also avoid bringing up bad memories which will alarm their kids.

3.  You teach the child things they did not remember

Sometimes, while a mom is explaining her fears and reason for crying, she brings up situations that the child did not know or remember. Now, a new bad memory has been created for the child. And it is associated with being in the doctor’s office. That is not a good thing.

It is always a bad situation when a child says: Wait that happened? And it is worse when a mom explains those bad details to the child.  The doctor’s office is not the time or place for a discussion like this.

This exact situation recently happened in my office with a teenager. By the time mom finished explaining a traumatic event from early childhood, the teen was in tears.

4. You empower kids to keep their fear instead of conquering it

In the midst of crying, it can be hard to think clearly and many moms begin to ramble with their explanations. I am no longer surprised when parents say: She is afraid of needles so she will not tolerate surgery.

The child then promptly starts crying about needles. She was not afraid of surgery until mom linked it to needles. Do not suggest negative thoughts and reactions!

I greatly appreciate moms who suggest concepts like: Isn’t it great that she will be asleep and not know when there is an IV placed in her arm? It is critical that parents help kids overcome their fears, not reinforce them.

5. You empower them to fight

One of the worst results that can occur as a result of a mom who cries in the office comes when she empower kids to fight.

Imagine a mom saying: She will fight, and no one will be able to control her. She will not let you do surgery. Even if you hold her down, she is strong and you cannot make her do anything she does not want to do.

Yes, I hear these words. They are not helpful to anyone, but they are often spoken by a crying mom who is too emotional to process the harm that her statements are doing.

I previously discussed the need to avoid lying to physicians; however, now we need to emphasize the need to avoid crying at doctor visits for kids. Much is written about preparing your child for a doctor’s visit and how to reduce their fears and anxiety. More people need to discuss the real fears that lay under the surface for parents. A helpful solution would be for parents to do some research and have prepared questions.

If your child has been referred to a surgeon, there is some chance that a surgical procedure might be recommended. Moms should be prepared to hear this news so they may join doctors in discussing it with the child. I understand that crying is an outlet for many moms; however, I just recommend postponing the tears until after the office visit is completed.

Dr. Momma discusses 5 reasons mothers should avoid crying at doctor visits for kids unless they are receiving devasting life and death news.

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Heather Johnson

I have never cried at a visit to the doctor with my kids. In fact, when my kids cry over shots, I say to tough it up because the alternative is a potentially deadly disease which comes with a trip to the hospital and many many more pokes and prods than a single vaccine.

    Momma Addict

    What a perfect response! I have been amazed by the increasing numbers of moms who are crying during the visit. We are sad when our kids are sick but part of the mom job is to be that reassuring and comforting voice.

Sherri

I have gone through so much with my oldest daughter in the past few years. So much heartache and worry and I never ever cried in front of her. Thankfully, she’s doing better now but I always knew if I cried it would scare her even more and the last thing I wanted was to scare her. At one point my own mother cried in front of her and I saw the look on my daughter’s face and it was of pure fear, I never wanted her to feel that way again. Sometimes, no matter how hard the situation is, we need to be the parent and be strong for them, they need that from us. Every situation can be different but for the most part I believe our children react to our own reactions. 🙂

    Momma Addict

    Thank you so much for sharing this! It is exactly what I was trying to say. It can be hard to hold back our emotions but when we don’t, we can make our kids much more afraid. Emotions are important but we have to choose the time and place. I am happy your daughter is doing better now!

Jaime Oliver

I had never really thought about this before. I thankfully havent cried at my Doctors personally but can certainly now see how this can impact on a small child. I guess the same would be the case for the Dentist too?

Sue Tanya McHorgh

I agree. Parents need to be strong for the kids . I can imagine that it can get hard sometimes and it’s hard to hide emotions but kids look up to their parents for everything. Great post.

Nicole V

I even think if mom (or dad) knows they are the crier they should have the other parent or someone else take the child. I agree that it causes all sorts of problems. Oh boy!

Tanvi Rastogi

Your posts are so informative and useful for mothers and parents.

❥ tanvii.com

Nik G.

Great advice. Children pick-up on their parent’s reactions. I’d hate to exacerbate any fear my children may have when at the doctor’s office.

Calleigh - TheForkBite

Thanks for the useful tips. Sure, we know what to expect when we head out for a doctor’s visit, but our children don’t. It’s so easy for adults to take that knowledge for granted, and that’s where we get into trouble.

Apolline Adiju

My bugets take away is that you encourage kids to keep their fears. I was given the same advice too each time I cried when I took my daughter to the Doctors.

Chichi Uguru

I don’t cry at doctor’s visits. Even if i have the urge Timi hold back the tears because I know my kiddos and hubby are looking to Me for strength ( I am a physician too) so me breaking down would mean to them that all is lost. Thanks for this article.

Victoria

It’s always so heartbreaking when they cry at a doctor’s visit

Via Bella

I actually was skeptical at first because I feel that we should be real with and in front of our kids. But your post was POINT ON about it. And good things to remember. Ie: bringing up things kids won’t remember.

Shaffi

Quite true. Very well written post. I mean this is a thing that everyone needs to understand. Crying might seem the easiest but that doesn’t mean that it is the best option

Nina Misteli

Number 4 is so important! I was always ridiculously scared as a child, no matter what the situation was. But I’ve learned more to live in fear than to conquer it. Amazing article!

Jeanette

I have one child with a bone tumor who has gone through major testing and two surgeries so far. More to come. We have been all over to specialists. I have not cried at once doctor appointment and thought this was common knowledge. I talk to his tumor and orthapedic specialist with a big smile on my face, no matter what we’re discussing and my son loves going on trips and getting his “picture taken” in the x-ray machine. The minute Mom loses it…children start to think the sky is falling.

    Momma Addict

    I am so sorry you are having to go on this journey and am glad you have doctors who are making it easier. I would understand a mom in your position with some tears because of the severity of the diagnosis. Yet even you know that your strength gives strength to your child. I am still amazed when moms cry after I say their child will need to have blood drawn or an allergy test!

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