2 Feb
Posted in: parenting
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Calming Fear in Children

Our oldest son is not a fan of needles. He’s done more than his fair share of begging and pleading to avoid vaccines, to no avail. There’s always weeping. He was anxious leading up to last Friday for a medical procedure that required both needle and scalpel.

His anxiety made me anxious, and both of us weirdly awkward and nervous in the waiting room trying to avoid the elephant sitting between us. We talked earlier in the day about his fears and then he asked to not talk about it again. He had a small mole on his hip that looked a little sketchy to our doctor and us. It had been there since birth but had changed a bit. We were given options: take photos and keep a watchful eye on it over the next year, or remove it. He voted for watching the mole, but was overruled.

I shared hiscourage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway anxiety over needles. It wasn’t until the first time I suffered a blood clot in 2000 that I became comfortable with needles. The experience of having to give myself daily injections helped to mentally push me past my fear of needles. Our son’s experience with needles ends with vaccines and annual influenza shots.

The doctor, her staff, and I were prepared for an emotional meltdown. My anxiety wasn’t solely linked to his fear of needles. He asked detailed questions about why the mole needed removed, what would happen to it and what the best and worst case scenarios are. We talked about skin cancer, pathologists, stitches, and the timeline for results. No parent wants to have these conversations with their children. One of the qualities I adore about our doctor is her ability to be no-nonsense while not making it seem overly scary.  My stomach was in knots while we discussed play-by-play of what was going to happen from numbing to pathology. I believe his concerns being addressed and questions being answered helped to calm his nerves. There was also a lot of praying on my end. I really didn’t want to hold that child down for the procedure.

No tears fell. There’s was no begging to leave the office. He was a champ. He’s known our doctor for 12 years and trusts her. He trusts I have his best interests in mind and wouldn’t put him through unnecessary pain. We talked with him through the duration of the procedure about what was happening, told stories and joked with each other. It went beautifully. I was proud of him, and he was proud of himself. Overcoming fears is empowering. We were both mentally exhausted afterward.

We don’t believe the pathology report will reveal anything bad. We’re being precautionary with the removal. He told me he researched skin cancer for his age, and it would be extremely rare. He’s not worried because he educated himself. Honestly, I’m trying not to let my mind wander to what could be found. I tend to jump to the worst-case scenario about everything.  When it turns out to be nothing, my joy is extreme. This one I’m not fretting about, which is a big step for me.

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