For Parents of Young Children
Pediatric Modesty is an issue that is rarely
addressed. It is important that pediatric modesty also be addressed.
Parents often want their children to go to doctors for checkups
and certain problems, but they fail to think about how their
children may feel about modesty in medical settings. Even young
children can be sensitive. Many children are taught that their
parents or certain relatives should only touch their private
parts and to report if someone touches their private parts.
Some children as young as 3 years old know what a bad touch
is. Some young kids are taught that they should not let someone
of the opposite sex to see them naked after a certain age. They
don't feel it is any different with nurses and doctors. Children
are often frightened when doctors or nurses do things to certain
parts of their bodies because of what they were taught about
bad touch and modesty. Some children are already very frightened
at a doctor's office due to previous vaccination experiences.
You should always strive to stand up for your
children's wishes. If your child is not comfortable with having
a genital exam, work to honor her/his wishes. Many kids have
gotten upset because they felt their modesty was violated. Remember
that pelvic exams are often unnecessary for young girls who
have not reached puberty yet.
Always take time to research procedures, medicine,
and diagnosis. Don't trust that the doctor is always right.
Some young kids are uncomfortable with strange
nurses bathing them. If your child is hospitalized, try to be
available to give her/him a bath yourself or be present when
the nurse bathes him/her to make him/her more comfortable.
Check out an article about young
children and modesty by Holly Goodwin. She had a bad experience
at age 5 when she was misdiagnosed with a yeast infection. She
actually had Interstitial Cystitis and the cream that was prescribed
for yeast infection made things worse. Holly has provided a
lot of wonderful insights about how parents can be sensitive
to their children's needs for modesty.
Help your child to think in advance about what
parts of her/his body need to be examined before she/he goes
to the doctor. Encourage your children to speak up if something
makes them uncomfortable. Make sure they know that they have
the right to decide if they want same gender nurses or doctors
for certain things and that they can refuse to take clothes
off for certain procedures or even refuse certain procedures.
If your child want an all same gender team
for certain procedures or surgeries, work hard to advocate for
his/her wishes no matter how hard it is. Your child will appreciate
your sensitivity to his/her needs for modesty.
Be sure you check out the article about teenagers