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Dealing With The Fear Of Vaccination In Children

Aug 17, 2007
Having your child immunized against crippling or deadly preventable diseases is very important. Vaccinations protect people against catching viral infections that can devastate a family, and doctors recommend a schedule of immunization for all children.

During the early months, babies receive their vaccinations with nearly no complaint, and the slight, temporary pain of the needle's prick causes hardly any discomfort. But as a child grows, sometimes so do their fears, and having your child immunized when they begin to be more aware of situations and are of age to protest can turn into quite a struggle.

If you're a parent of a child who's developed a fear of vaccinations, you need to help them deal with their emotions while still making sure they're protected against deadly diseases.

There are many reasons why children develop fears in the first place. Perhaps they've lived through a traumatizing event and remain marked by the upset, or they may have witnessed someone else going through a traumatizing experience.

Even television can end up providing children with their fears, by the child having glimpsed a show where a traumatizing event was going on. Whatever the reason your child, understand and recognized that the feelings of anxiety and paranoia attached to fears are very real and should not be dismissed.

Many parents use a 'speak no evil' method when they need to have their children go through an event that is less than pleasant or that they know will bring about anxiety. Not speaking of the reason for the doctor's appointment will help ensure that children don't worry or stress over the situation before even arriving there.

The trick is to alleviate anxiety, not create it. Telling a child ahead of time that they're going to receive a vaccination will only allow the child to think up all sorts of horrible scenarios. By the time you arrive at the doctor's office, your child will already be terrified and upset, having predicted every second of the 'traumatic' event.

Children will take their cues from you, so if you are calm and collected, they will be too. After all, if Mommy or Daddy is smiling and is accepting of the doctor and what he has to do, the child will process that information. While it may not make them feel the situation is pleasant, your outward expression and tone of voice goes a long way to reassuring your child that everything is alright.

Above all, never lie to your children, even with good intentions. Trust is a fragile thing and a child has to have a phenomenal amount of it. It's counterproductive to trust to tell your child that a vaccination won't hurt, because the sting of the needle and the burn of the vaccine itself contradict your words.

What you can do to help alleviate your child's fears is to tell them what to expect, by explaining the temporary pinch of the needle and how it only lasts as long as it takes to sing old 'McDonald had a farm.' Explain that, while a vaccination may hurt, getting sicker hurts more. Even young children can understand that sometimes they have to do something, whether they like it or not, because the results can be worse.
About the Author
Andi Michaels writes for a number of web sites including How To Stay Healthy where there are many more articles on disease prevention . Also go to Well Spoken Audio where there are over 5000 informative and entertaining audiobooks including many on health and fitness
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