Parents behaviour can influence their child’s reaction to pain

Less anxiety from parents is the key

An 18-month study has followed 92 families during their children’s first burn dressing change, and the results, according to this article in The Conversation, suggest that how parents react and behave during their children’s medical treatment can affect how that child perceives stress and pain. 

We can’t take the pain away, but we can make it worse. Parents who display anxiety or distress during medical procedures can increase their children’s general trauma. 

Difficult as it may seem to control, reactions such as criticising them (“stop that crying”), minimising their experience (“you’re okay, nearly done”) or encouraging the pain (“I know it hurts”) don’t help.

Distracting them from the procedures, staying calm and confident (even if you’re highly anxious) and simply being reassuring may mean lower anxiety, quicker wound healing and less medical intervention.

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Image: Injured Teddy Bear with thanks to Teemu Tretjakov via Flickr.