Talking to Your Child's Doctor

The child's doctor is often not given his due importance by parents. Usually the doctors are overscheduled and finding enough time just to meet them seems like an arduous task to most parents. However, effective communication with the family doctor or the specialist taking care on one’s child could have a lot of advantages, especially when trying to find out what is best for the child’s health and getting an insight into the way a child thinks or any secrets that the child may be keeping from his parents.

Doctor-Parent Relationship
Health information is more readily available than before and parents keep themselves informed via the internet, books and TV. This is a welcome change, because now parents can contribute in their child's healthcare. However, the parents might do too much of their own thinking and get hooked on to misplaced health information. Parents shouldn’t question the authority of the doctor based upon such information. However, they should ask the doctor about the purpose of a medication or a health plan he has prescribed for the child.

Another common problem that parents have with the child's doctor is their own unwillingness to trust the doctor's diagnosis. Such hypochondriac parents may seek expensive or high-strength drugs for common ailments of their child and may start arguing with the doctor.

Communicating with the Doctor
For better communication with the child’s doctor, the parents should be clear about what to expect from the doctor. A concerned but informed parent should look upon a doctor to
• Help in monitoring the child's health.
• Explain the child's growth and development patterns – physical and emotional.
• Diagnose and treat the child's illnesses and devise a health regimen for the child.
• Explain the child's illnesses and the course of treatment including the precautions.
• Provide referrals for specialists in case of specific symptoms or major illnesses.

Some pointers for parents —
• The doctor should feel that the parents actually trust him with their child’s health. It isn’t a wide decision to argue with the doctor for each of his decisions or diagnoses. Developing and maintaining this parent-doctor trust is very critical.
• When the doctor asks about the child’s health, the parents should explain the actual and not ‘supposed’ concerns, specifically and clearly.
• Parents should tell the doctor about any abnormal symptom the child has shown or drastic changes in the family life like parent’s divorce or death in the family.