Forget The Little White Lies – And Improve This Parenting Partnership

We’ve all figured out by now, kids don’t come with a handbook.  There will be many questions and concerns, and there are many personal decisions to be made while raising a child.

There are often several visits with the pediatrician in the first few months and years of a little one’s life, and parents are often met with what sometimes feels like an inquisition about how they are raising their child.

Every child is unique, and every parent has their own set of values and ideals they rely on while raising their child.  Sometimes, our way of doing things may not be what is considered the “norm” according to our doctors.

We may feel a sense of guilt or anxiety at the barrage of questions we face at regular pediatric visits because we have a very specific idea of how we plan to raise our child.  And we often think that our ideas and those of the medical community may not mesh.

But there is a way to work together for the benefit of your child, while also standing strong for your unique and personal family preferences.

BabyGaga reported:

These days, parenting is a bit of a competition, and many moms and dads feel pressure to take on all of the trendiest styles and methods. They worry about judgment from their peers, and they are terrified that their pediatrician will think less of them, and that’s often when the lies start to creep in. They don’t want to admit breastfeeding issues, and they fear judgment on their discipline style. They think that their baby’s bouts of colic are a failing, and they think that questions about caretakers and eating habits are too invasive. Even worse, they sometimes lie about symptoms to make sure that the doctor prescribes medication.

We’ve all been there, telling our doctors the little white lies we think they want to hear.  Sure, my baby is sleeping through the night at 6 weeks.  Yes, of course, she only nurses every three hours for exactly forty-five minutes.  The stories go on and on because we really just want to make sure our kid is healthy — and have the docs leave the rest to us.

While we may feel pressure to conform to what we think our pediatrician wants to know, they understand more than we think they do.  They know that parenting is a journey without a map, and they will be the first to admit they don’t have all the answers.

So why do we so often back down in the face of inquiry and make ourselves out to have a different parenting style than we practice?

It’s human nature to want to appear as if we have it all together; as if we are all following the guidelines listed in some mutually-recognized parenting “manual.”  The fact is, we are all on a journey that will lead us in different directions, but the end goal for both parent and pediatrician is a child who is both mentally and physically healthy.

And, whether we think about it or not, pediatricians are often parents too.  And they may be going through the same roller-coaster ride we are, just trying to figure it all out.

Having said that, there are topics that will come up with our doctors where a definite rift in opinion will appear.  Physicians will most often stand behind the science by which they are trained.

Very personal parenting decisions like bottle vs. breast, deciding to co-sleep, or making the choice to delay vaccines – or avoid them altogether – are choices that may be met with resistance from your doctor.

This is where parents must stay strong.  This is your child, and you have their best interests at heart.  You have a strict set of values you wish to follow, and you do not owe anyone an explanation for that.

If you do feel that your pediatrician is trying to dissuade your choices, stand your ground.  Or find another doctor.  From small choices like not giving your child cow’s milk, to bigger ones like delaying or avoiding vaccinations or refraining from the use of any pharmaceutical drugs, you are the parent and the pediatrician is there to help you, not hinder the most important job in the world.

The bottom line is that it is important to rid ourselves of the feeling of judgment by others – including our physicians – and be truthful.  Your pediatrician is asking these questions so they have an idea of your child’s general welfare, but the guidelines they follow are certainly not set in stone.

Remember, pediatricians are people too.  If we are honest about our wishes for our child instead of telling them what we think they want to hear, we will all benefit in the long run.

Scary Mommy recently reported on comments of a pediatrician who brings this point home.  Honesty and understanding can go a long way towards a successful “partnership:”

You worry what I’m thinking about you while your children are jumping up and down on the office equipment. You wonder if I will dismiss the story you’re trying to tell me. You wonder if I will judge you because you don’t have it all together. You worry that if you do admit you don’t have it all together that I’m going to give you impossible advice.

So here’s the truth: I really am thinking things about you I don’t tell you. Because I don’t think you’ll listen. I want to tell you that you are too hard on yourself. That anyone can see how much you love your kids and how hard you are trying. I want to tell you to give yourself a break. To stop driving yourself crazy trying to find just the right parenting method.

Parenting is the toughest job on earth, and you’re doing a fantastic job, mama!  Stick to your guns and be honest when your doctor asks how you and your child are doing.  They really are there to help!

Do you find yourself telling your pediatrician what he wants to hear because you feel judged, or feel different for going against the “parenting norm?”  Leave us your thoughts in the comments.


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