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.

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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