Tips When Talking To Your Doctor About Your Child’s Health

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By Ala Alkhatib

doctorFor a parent, there is nothing more important than your child’s health. You will go to any extreme to ensure that your child remains happy and healthy. Considering your busy lifestyle, it may not be possible to schedule a regular appointment with your child’s doctor. Sometimes, it is very difficult to get an appointment quickly as most pediatricians will be overbooked or overscheduled. Thus, you need to take advantage of the minimum amount of time that you spend with the doctor.

When it comes to child’s healthcare, it is always advisable to take the child to the same doctor again and again rather than switching doctors. This way you are able to build a strong bond between the doctor, the child, as well as the parent – – which make both the doctor’s and parent’s task easier.

Here are several things you need to keep in mind while talking to your child’s doctor about his/her health

Be well prepared: Before seeing the doctor, make a list of the things you should discuss with him / her. This includes the child’s general health, the specific condition, when symptoms first appeared, and the frequency of occurrence. For example, If the child is throwing up a lot, you should keep note of when the vomiting started, what triggered this response, at what interval it occurred, and what home remedy you tried. Also, make a note of all the questions you want to ask the doctor.

Prioritize things: When it comes to your children’s health, you will always have a lot of worries. In addition to writing notes down, you should also prioritize them in order of importance.  For example, if you are consulting the doctor for your child’s ear infection, that should be your first priority.

Provide all information: Report to the doctor if there are any other health concerns that should be aware of….do not leave anything out. If there is an X-ray or medical report, remember to carry that as well. If the child is on any new medications or if he / she is allergic to anything, remember to mention this to the doctor. This includes even the multivitamin and painkiller which the child may have had. It is also useful if you can provide a complete report of the child’s health including the blood group, history of allergies (food, drug, and others) and immunization schedule.

Be informed: The internet provides a whole lot of information about each and every aspect of health. While it is a good idea to get some information from the internet, do not go overboard. Familiarize yourself with few medical terms related to your child’s illness. If the doctor mentions any of these names, it will be easy for you to understand.

groupkidsRemain focused: Pay complete attention to what the doctor is telling. Turn off the cell phone to make sure that you are not distracted. Also, do not discuss things that are totally unrelated to the current health condition like the behavioral problem of the child.

Do not hesitate: A mother is a child’s best doctor. A doctor spends just ten or fifteen minutes examining a child. But it is the mother who knows the child well. If you feel that there is something amiss and your child needs a hospitalization, do not hesitate to tell the doctor. Pointing out certain facts that the doctor missed out will help him to make a proper diagnosis.

Use the latest technology to communicate: When it comes to communicating with today’s doctors, the latest technology like WhatsApp and Email comes handy. Ask your doctor whether he is comfortable communicating through these means and if so remember to get the doctor’s phone number and email id. If you have missed out on any important report, the same can be sent via email or WhatsApp.

Communicate with the nurse: Before seeing a child’s doctor, you will often meet the doctor’s assistant or nurse who will check the height and weight of the child. It would be a good idea to share the child’s health condition with them. They might be able to provide some tip which the doctor would most likely forget in his busy schedule.

Above all, make sure that you meet the doctor at the right time. If by any chance you are not able to reach the clinic on time, let the clinic staff knows beforehand. Also, it would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the appointment procedure of the clinic as well as insurance formalities to avoid unnecessary delays.

– Ala’a Alkhatib is a passionate digital content marketer based in Jordan who has previously worked in a variety of industries including software, transportation and aeronautics. She is currently helping people live healthier by integrating their doctors into their day to day schedule more efficiently. She is also a frequent user of Cura app having been known to use it to chat with doctors in all kinds of place – even while on the bus!

Talking To Your Kids When Bad Things Happen – Part 2

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By Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC

Continued from part 1 of this article…..

familyrunning* As much as possible, stay on your routine at home. This will give your child stability and reduce anxiety.

* This is an excellent time to set up an emergency plan in your own home. Go through what you each will do if there is an emergency. This empowers children and helps them feel more in control. Remind them of a time something happened and what they did to help. Also remind them of how proud you were of them.

* Take extra time at night to read stories, watch movies, or say prayers. This helps kids feel safer and it is also a time when questions come up that parents can use to help understand how their child is processing the tragedies.

* This is a good time to bring your spiritual beliefs to the forefront. Things such as having a mass said, lighting a candle, or planting a tree for the people who lost their lives is important. It helps your child see that no matter what happens people do care and they do remember. Spirituality is also important because it gives us strength beyond our human capacity.

* Listen to your children. Children’s brains work differently than adults, and by careful listening you can better ascertain where your child is having a difficult time with the recent events.

* Grieving with your child will help them heal. Children grieve much differently than adults. Their time frame isn’t the same as ours. They may be playing and jumping around one minute, and sitting alone by a tree the next. Grieving in children isn’t normal for adults to witness and we want to cheer them up. This is a time to acknowledge when they are sad and then brainstorm with them what they can do (with your help) to feel better. Always identify with trying to do something good with your child for others.

When bad things happen the greatest source of encouragement comes from mom and dad and family.

I find comfort in what Mr. Rodgers’ mother use to tell him when tragedy struck. She would say, “Look for the helpers. There are always more helpers than bad people.” I see this acted out in truth all of the time, in situation after situation. Good in the world must always be more powerful than bad; we all need that right now.

– Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC, is a licensed psychotherapist and co-author with Janine J. Sherman, of Start Talking: A Girl’s Guide for You and Your Mom About Health, Sex or Whatever. Read more about the book at and more about Rapini at

Talking To Your Kids When Bad Things Happen – Part 1

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By Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC

familywalk2With the recent happenings in Texas, we, as parents, are faced with the question of how do we talk to our children about what happened, and then help them feel safe and reassured that it won’t happen to them?

This is one of those issues that parents find so difficult. Every parent I know wants their child to be safe in their environment and when something such as a shooting occurs the parents have little control. Beyond our comprehension is the fact that when random violence happens no one has control. When someone wants to kill, and is prepared to die themselves then the best anyone can do is to protect themselves from the mad man’s rage.

Spring is a busy time of the year, but taking time to help your child process this now will help prevent them suffering emotionally in the future. If you consider this as a process and let it unfold rather than force the conversation, your child will be able to understand or at least feel less fear from it happening to them as time goes on. As a parent your immediate concern is with the safety of your child, and having a plan or something you can do will help both you and your child feel better.

I have suggestions below that will help you help your child. If you notice your child being anxious and fearful for more than two weeks consistently, it will be helpful to talk to your pediatrician and perhaps a counselor.

* Parents are a barometer for their children, and children are skilled with reading their parent’s emotions. So, before you talk to your children, make sure you know how you feel about what happened, and if you are anxious or not ready to help your child feel secure, delay talking with them about it

* Don’t mention the trauma part to your children and don’t assume what they are afraid of. Rather, ask them specifically so you won’t introduce another possible fear. If they mention they are afraid that something bad may happen to them, validate that by saying it’s natural to feel that way, but also tell them you are going to do everything you can to keep them safe.

* Limit the news in your home regarding the tragedies. Children don’t understand the replays and they may be at the level of thinking each time they view the incident that it is happening again. The visual parts as well as the audio accounts of the recent tragedies once seen and heard may create anxiety, nightmares, and depression in children.

Stay tuned for part 2 of this article shortly…..

– Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC, is a licensed psychotherapist and co-author with Janine J. Sherman, of Start Talking: A Girl’s Guide for You and Your Mom About Health, Sex or Whatever. Read more about the book at and more about Rapini at

Talking To Children About Their Weight

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From Your Health Journal…..”I always enjoy pieces from the New York Times, and today, found a great article by Harriet Brown about ‘Feeling Bullied by Parents About Weight’ – which I strongly recommend your reading the entire article on the Times site (link provided below). So many times, parents have good intentions when they try to discuss their children’s weight, but once in a while, it can be hurtful, and in many cases, the parent may not even be aware of it. The parents response usually is, “I was just trying to be helpful.” But, this can sometimes cause the child harm. Please visit the Times site to read the full article, and some very helpful ways of discussing this topic with your child. One things I always recommend is to base a discussion on health, rather than weight issues. But, always a sensitive topic, and each child is different – so one method may work with one child, but not another.”

From the article…..

Nancy Keefe Rhodes, a therapist and writer in Syracuse, N.Y., has struggled with weight all her life. So when the uncle she idolized asked her, at age 10, if she went to “Omar the tentmaker” for her clothes, she was devastated. “When I begged him to stop, he said he was just trying to help,” she said.

Parents and other adults who are “only trying to help” may do harm rather than good, as a recent study from the journal Pediatrics makes clear. More than 350 teens who had attended one of two weight-loss camps filled out detailed questionnaires about their experiences of being victimized because of their weight. It found, not surprisingly, that nearly all heavier teenagers are teased or bullied about their weight by peers. What was surprising was the number of teenagers who said they have experienced what amounts to bullying at the hands of trusted adults, including coaches and gym teachers (42 percent) and, most disturbingly, parents (37 percent).

“What we see most often from parents is teasing in the form of verbal comments,” says Rebecca M. Puhl, director of research at Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity and the study’s lead author. Such comments can range from nagging a child about eating too much to criticizing how she looks in a particular outfit to trying to bribe him into sticking with a diet.

Those are the kinds of comments that Kim Kachmann-Geltz, 46, of Hilton Head Island, S.C., heard from her father, a neurosurgeon, around the dinner table, where he would needle both her and her mother “that if we ate our dessert, he would find a new wife and no one would ever want to marry me.” Coming from a father she adored, they triggered decades of bulimia and compulsive exercise that she’s only now getting over, she said. “My father’s rants still must be stirring deep within my subconscious,” she said. “Cognitively, I know the things he said weren’t right or good. But somehow the truth still hasn’t sunk in 100 percent.”

“There still remains the widespread perception that a little stigma can be a good thing, that it might motivate weight loss,” said Dr. Puhl, a clinical psychologist. (Medical doctors, too, fall prey to this misconception.) But research done at the Rudd Center and elsewhere has shown that even well-intentioned commentary from parents and other adults can trigger disordered eating, use of laxatives and other dangerous weight-control practices, and depression.

Parents who struggled with weight themselves when young, for example, may believe their criticism will help their own children sidestep some of the hardships they endured. Kido, a mother in Oakland, Calif., who goes by only her last name, says she was obese as a child, and that her mother used to set up booby traps with food, to catch her sneak-eating. So when her older daughter started gaining weight in middle school, she reacted harshly. “I didn’t want her to know any part of what I’d gone through,” she said. “I’ve been apologizing to her for years about what I did.”

To read the full article…..Click here