February 10, 2015
It may be because they need attention, reassurance or simply have difficulty expressing their emotions properly, but some children invent aches and pains to draw the compassion, attention and care of adults.
It’s not always easy to discern the real from the false afflictions, as some children could win an Oscar for their acting performance! I recommend the following strategy and helpful tips to guide you in such situations.
Step One: Assess the Discomfort
Check if there are physical symptoms:
- Does your child have a fever?, Does your child look pale?
- Is your child listless or drowsy? If so, how long has he been this way?
- Has your child lost his appetite?, Etc.
- Where does it hurt?
- Make suggestions (assumptions regarding the source of the ailment) and try to seek a confirmation from your child. For example: “If you don’t feel well maybe it’s because...
- you’re hungry?” (in the case of a headache)
- you’re nervous about your oral presentation?”
- you’re sad because daddy isn’t home because of his business trip?”
- you’re worried because your pet is sick?”
Sept Two: Contextualize the Situation
- Is the sickness sudden?
- Was your child feeling fine a minute ago?
- Do the aches appear right around bedtime or in the morning before school, etc?
Finally, if you are convinced the ache is imaginary following your investigation, here are some tips to help you “cure” these little boo-boos.
The Magical Solution: Miracle Cures!
- Desperate times call for desperate measures: “You’re right, you will have to spend the day in bed and rest so you get better quickly. Off to bed you go!”
- Use miracle remedies that “make the ache disappear.”
- Apply a miracle cream (a simple moisturizing hand or body lotion does the job nicely).
- The awesome power of kissing the pain away.
- Hot/cold therapy (hot water compress for the tummy or cold for the forehead).
- The magic potion (glass of regular water or dyed with a little jus).
- Transfer the ache to the first passerby walking down the street: Pretend to take the pain in your hands and throw it out the window.
- Play puppet with your child’s favourite stuffed animal to help him describe what he’s feeling. For example: “My tummy hurts too because we have to sing in front of the whole school today.”
- Distract your child by suggesting an activity with you.
- Turn gains into losses: “That’s too bad, I was going to take you to...”
- Redirect your child’s attention toward another activity, subject, etc.
Caroline Séguin, Family Coach