The proverbial “I don’t feel well” is a difficult symptom to navigate. That phrase easily turns parents into panic mode, okay maybe not panic, but we are pretty concerned because the vague description leaves us asking a ton of questions, practically doing independent research to track down what could be potentially going on. If we grow increasingly weary, we head to the emergency room because the idea of your child not feeling well, almost always feels like it warrants EMERGENCY medical attention.
So, I wanted a professional opinion on how parents can help children better navigate how they are feeling, in an effort to help us parents understand their symptoms.
I had a conversation with Dr. Manasa Mantravadi and I posed these questions to her. Dr. Mantravadi is a Board Certified Pediatrician, working as a Hospitalist, so she is no stranger to doing the detective work it takes to diagnose and treat her patients.
Understanding we are not trying to “diagnose” our children, If you are like me, you would like to have a better understanding of your child’s symptoms to help determine the best course of action. Here is what Dr. Mantravadi shared:
Talk on their level - Basically, Dr. Mantravadi suggests we use vocabulary that is adequate for them to understand. Using terms like burning and tingling may not be words they fully understand, so using terms that are in accordance with their language will help a ton.
No Prompting - I don’t know about you but, when my child(reg) mentions, “I don’t feel good,” I immediately become the States Attorney and I have a million questions. Doctor suggests we listen and allow them to use the imagery they can, to describe what they are feeling. When we prompt them it's easy to confuse them.
Listen - Listen to the language they are using to describe how they are feeling, this should give us the clues we need to pin down their symptoms a little better.
Observe - Observing consists of four things for you to pay attention to. How are they eating, drinking, acting and peeing. Tracking this information is helpful because once we take our child to the physician, we can share what we have observed and it can better help them decipher what's going on.
Listen, being a parent isn’t easy, so it's always nice to have a quick set of tips to help us along the way. Jot these down and save them to your phone or stick them to your fridge, these tips may come in handy one day.