Some time ago, one of my kids was going to have a simple operation done. I knew that the whole process would be tough on her. I was freaked out. Big time. So I couldn’t even fathom how she felt. I remember the doctor’s assistant asking on several occasions if I was Ok. I’m pretty sure she knew how I felt after we were noticed that the operation needed to be done. Once again, my face was unable to hide my feelings. I remember walking towards the car, holding my daughter’s hand and trying to decipher how on Earth would I let her know what was coming.
Give it to her straight!
Given my face problem, I knew my daughter could not be kept in the dark about what was coming. I also thought it was cheating (as a Dad) if I did not prepare her for that day. So I opted to tell her the truth, but how? when? where?
When in doubt, consult Master Yoda.
My wife agreed with me, we had to tell her. So we decided right then and there to give her the truths in small dosages. So from that moment to when the operation day came, we told her everythig. The documentation, the tests, the operation itself and everything else. Often I saw fear crawling out of her eyes. So I offered comfort.
A spoonful of Sugar helps the medicine go down.
Mary Poppins had it right. By mixing loving support (sugar) with truth(medicine) in small percentages, we were able to explain everything that was going to take place. Every test that would be done, how it would be done. The anesthesia the part where the doctors would tell us to leave, the pain afterwards, everything. Little by little, the whole truth was accepted. Comfort and security kicked fear out!
It was all over.
When everything was said and done and the pain left, my parents asked how did we eradicate fear. They had never taken me to have any surgery, so it was new to them also. It was the truth. Not lying saved the situation. By accepting everything and putting it into words, a kid felt like an adult and the parents, like heroes.
Raul Colon says
Wao! It was taking Daniela to get her shots and it got me uncomfortable. I can’t imagine how I would feel if such a day comes.
I guess having your advice on hand helps a lot with the process easier read than done.
Thanks once again for the thought provoking post!
It’s much more difficult with a newborn such as Daniela. Been there also (my son had several interventions when he was 6months old and a tough operation six months later). My advice there, should you ever need it (hope not) is to bring a bag full of hugs, kisses and comforting songs. Make her laugh when you can and pray. Redo this as often as neccesary.
Maybe I need to make a post about it also.