Published on January 29, 2024

What Really Scares Kids About Seeing a Doctor?

It’s often quite scary to walk into a doctor’s office for a checkup. There’s posters on the wall telling you to keep an eye out for symptoms, sometimes there’s a needle and blood vials waiting for you on the desk – the whole environment seems primed to scare you and make you want to leave!

And this can be ten times as scary for kids. We teach kids that they have to do as their parents tell them, and as their doctor tells them, which can leave little wiggle room for their mental health needs when seeing a medical professional. That’s why we need to understand a doctor’s visit from their point of view. Here are the top three reasons kids find a situation like this so scary. 

They Don’t Know What to Expect

This is a scary thing no matter where you’re going or who you’re supposed to see! When you don’t know what to expect, you’re going to be wondering the whole time what might happen. In the medical world, this could mean you need to get a needle in the arm, or you need to go for surgery immediately, and who knows what else! 

As an adult you know it’s not good to jump to the worst case scenario, but for kids this is a little less obvious. It’s a learned behavior you get over the course of a lifetime, so when you’re under the age of 18, it’s very hard to think nothing bad is going to happen to you! 

They’re Not Sure What the Doctor is Going to Be Like

This is one of the most common causes of medical fear. If your child has never met the doctor before, they’re simply not going to know what kind of person they are. While most pediatric doctors are good with handling childhood fears, some doctors can be very dismissive and some can simply be unsure how to interact with children. 

It’s normal to be worried about this. Indeed, when you’re trying to help your child with handling pediatric hearing loss or another kind of impactful lifelong condition, you might even be worried about how well the doctor or nurse is going to engage. 

Doctors Often Have Needles and Other Scary Equipment

This is a bit similar to the first point, but it’s important to point out on its own. After all, sharp things having to go into your wrist or your arm can be terrifying, especially if you’ve got a previously established phobia of needles. 

And if you have a fear of needles, it’s likely your child will as well; if they see you having issues with doctor visits, they may pick up on this and start behaving in the same way. Be careful about the way you talk about needles and other similar scary equipment around your kids – you can never be sure how it’ll impact them. 

Kids can be very scared of the doctor. Keep this in mind for medical visits!


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