Thanks to JR for sending me this article below from the New York Times.
American parents now clamor for pain free childhood for their kids. I see it on our town Mom lists on Facebook. "Seeking a ballet class for my 4 year old. Not competitive. Not too hard. I just want her to have fun." Or this one: "My son needs a blood draw and I'm terrified to take him. Which QUEST lab has the BEST blood draw that won't hurt?" Another constant in my Karate classes: "This hurts! I can't do it!" from children as young as 4 when we are doing the most basic stretches, like sitting and reaching for your toes. We gently tell them, "Stretching pulls on your muscles to you can kick and punch better and it's supposed to feel a little bit like a hurt. But it's stretching hurt, not boo boo hurt. There's a difference."
Is there a difference? Welcome to the world of "The Comfort Promise." Stop laughing. Welcome to the world of "Lawnmower parenting." What's that? Lawnmower parents go to whatever lengths necessary to prevent their child from having to face adversity, struggle, or failure. Instead of preparing children for challenges, they mow obstacles down so kids won’t experience them in the first place.
We're training children to expect no discomfort at all in life. And then we wonder why so many teens are on anti-anxiety drugs to cope with life.
The revolting irony is that American children are sicker and worse off than previous generations, ravaged by chronic disease.
How is it a leap in medicine to ask a doctor to be kind and gentle with a "Comfort Promise? I remember my shots at Dr. G's office in Attleboro, Massachusetts. There weren't many back in my day. He said hello. Wrapped his arm around me with a mock hug and jabbed my arm. Then I got a lollipop. He wasn't cruel. He wasn't mushy. See the photo at the top of this post? He had almost the same paddle hanging right above the door that went into the patient rooms from the waiting room. THAT's what we looked at when not reading Highlights magazine. Imagine that subtle message in any office today. Yet I left the visits healthy and well. And today, kids leave the pediatrician changed forever. But we can take "comfort" that they may never have chicken pox.
Taking the Pain Out of Children's Shots: If you ask every single child in the United States, what are you most afraid of going to the pediatrician, the answer is needle pokes,” said Dr. Stefan Friedrichsdorf, the medical director of pain medicine and palliative care at Children’s Minnesota.
The pain and fear around childhood vaccinations, he said, contributes to the development of needle phobias, which can make people reluctant to get flu shots and other potentially lifesaving vaccines. Thus, pediatric pain specialists hope that reducing or eliminating the pain associated with needles can potentially reduce what we now call vaccine hesitancy, encouraging parents to get those annual flu shots for themselves and their children, and generally taking away some of the fear that can get in the way of ideal health care.
“We now have noticed that since we started doing this, it’s a life changing event, kids are less and less likely to be needle phobic,” Dr. Friedrichsdorf said. “We are trying to prove it’s lifesaving.” Through an initiative called the Comfort Promise at Children’s Minnesota, the entire hospital has committed to reducing or eliminating needle pain, along with other types of pain.
So how do you eliminate, or at least substantially reduce, the pain of vaccination or blood draws? Parents should make sure that their children’s pediatrician or hospital always offers the four elements of the Comfort Promise, Dr. Friedrichsdorf said. Read more here.