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I Lie to My Kids About Getting Shots At the Pediatrician

Posted by on Jun. 17, 2013 at 9:42 AM
  • 5 Replies

I Lie to My Kids About Getting Shots At the Pediatrician

by Linda Sharps

A recent post over at the CafeMom forums asked, "Do you forewarn your children when they are getting a shot?" The overwhelming response was yes, most parents do tell their kids ahead of time if a pediatrician visit is going to involve a needle. Reasons vary from wanting to prepare the child to not wanting to be dishonest, and I'm more than a little hesitant to confess this but here goes: I have totally lied to my kids about shots.

I know, I know. It's deceiving and awful and I'm eroding their trust and … I know, okay? But let me try and explain.

Here's the thing: I never completely lied in the sense that I promised that they wouldn't get a shot. If I knew they were due for a vaccination or flu shot whatever, what I said is that we're going in for a checkup to make sure they're healthy and that they stay healthy. When the question was inevitably asked if the visit would include a shot, I would say that I wasn't sure.

The reason I did this is because the alternative was so, so, so, so much worse. My oldest son has had a lot of trouble dealing with the anxiety of anticipation, and while he's much better than he used to be (oh my god, the balloon phobia he had as a toddler. Because they can pop, you see, and no one knows when that might happen), knowing that a shot is in his near future takes the freakout that would normally happen as soon as the needle makes an appearance and stretches it into a much longer affair. The entire drive to the doctor's office, the waiting room, etc. The last time I tried to prepare him for a shot -- by describing how fast it would be over, how important the medicine was, how I'd be right there and we'd get Happy Meals afterwards -- he was so worked up by the time the actual shot came it was … well, it was bad. I can only imagine that his high levels of distress made the actual pain of the shot hurt more, because he'd built it up so much in his head.

His hysteria would get his brother wailing, and the whole thing would just spin out of control. So I started lying about it, because in my mind, a last-minute meltdown was much preferable to an hours-long horror movie.

I haven't had to confront this specific issue in a while: last fall they got the mist instead of shots for their flu vaccinations, so we managed to avoid the needle phobia dilemma altogether. Maybe next time I'll be up front about it, now that my son's older. But maybe not. Because even though it's not a truthful approach, I feel like saving a kid a lengthy panic attack isn't such a bad thing.

How do you deal with kids and shots?

Do you tell them it's coming ahead of time?

by on Jun. 17, 2013 at 9:42 AM
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Replies (1-5):
meam4444
by Gold Member on Jun. 17, 2013 at 4:35 PM

I tell them if they ask.

Sweets32285
by Jen on Jun. 18, 2013 at 10:30 AM

My 4 year old had to get shots a few weeks ago for school next year.  I told him that he would probably be getting them.  He's a tough kid.  I was jokingly telling him that he was going to get a shot in the butt.  Sure enough they decided to give him one there instead of doing 2 in 1 arm.  He thought it was pretty funny.

Redwall
by Member on Jun. 18, 2013 at 7:04 PM

I never told them....  In fact, when I took them in for their yearly physicals, I wanted to get the chicken pox vaccine.  My oldest took 3 nurses to hold him down and he hit the doctor when it was all over....my youngest just had it done like it was no big deal.

Mariah-1987
by Member on Jun. 18, 2013 at 8:29 PM
My 6 yr old dd hates shots or anything to do with needles. I still tell her tho that I'm not sure if she has to get a shot or not when we go for her yearly check-up. And she still freaks. She usually tells the lady at the front desk that she doesn't want any shots. My youngest likes to resist everything pretty much but she's 2 and that is to be expected.
easinpc
by Emily on Jun. 19, 2013 at 11:29 AM

My son does just fine with them so yes I tell him in advance.

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