Hypochondriac Parents: Characteristics, Risks and Prevention
Maternal instinct leads us to worry more about our child’s well-being than our own. Many mothers ignore their own symptoms to avoid affecting their children’s lives – especially when their children are very young. This is one of the purest acts of love that mothers display on a daily basis.
When something goes wrong with our children’s health, we don’t stop until it’s fixed. We can’t rest until we’re sure nothing serious is going on.
Unfortunately, this fear can sometimes become distorted and end up producing a false perception of the child’s condition. This can lead not only to an incorrect diagnosis, but also to extreme worry and anxiety.
Hypochondriac parents are unable to distinguish between what is likely and what is unlikely. This can lead to major complications.
Characteristics of hypochondriac parents
The biggest common denominator that unites almost all hypochondriac parents is an extremely pessimistic outlook, always thinking the worst is going to happen.
These thoughts drive them to take desperate measures. The first, and perhaps worst thing they can do, is look up symptoms on the internet. Hypochondriac parents should never do this. It’s impossible to obtain a precise diagnosis by simply “analyzing” a few of your child’s symptoms.
Medical professionals are trained to take many factors into account when making a diagnosis. These include lifestyle, nutrition, activities, environment, etc. And of course, the diagnostic process may also include blood tests, urine tests, X-ray, etc.
At the same time, hypochondriac parents display great anguish. The only thing they achieve with this is producing worry in their own children. They may even end up instilling fears in their children.
It’s important to be careful with words and expressions. Hypochondriac parents need to handle themselves with extreme care.
“The biggest common denominator that unites almost all hypochondriac parents is an extremely pessimistic outlook”
These parents also tend to be on constant alert in the face of any situation that arises. For example, this often occurs when their children are exposed to other children who are already possibly contagious. While it’s important to take precautions in these circumstances, excessive fear is negative.
Other typical behaviors of hypochondriac parents
- Constantly checking their child’s temperature if they notice even the slightest fever.
- Repeatedly asking the child how he or she is feeling, something that tends to irritate little ones.
- Imposing prohibitions or excessive preventative measures during cold weather, for example. The same behavior may occur once a child heals from any illness or injury.
- Feeling the need to call the doctor in the face of even the tiniest advance or decline of symptoms. This may occur even despite the doctor’s indications.
How to overcome hypochondria as a parent?
The first and most important recommendation is to keep calm. If not, you won’t only cause your child to feel afraid and worried, but you’ll also be setting a negative example.
Remember: Your child observes you and learns from your actions. If you don’t handle yourself in a calm way, then you’ll teach your child to lose control in adverse situations.
At the same time, be sure to take your child to see a pediatrician if the symptoms persist or are intense. Once you’ve done this, be sure to follow your doctor’s orders to a T. It’s absolutely pointless to take your child to the doctor if you don’t trust or follow his or her indications.
Despite what many people think, the worst thing you can do is try to stop thinking about whatever is worrying you. In fact, when you do, you usually end up more preoccupied by fear.
You end up paying even more attention to symptoms. It’s important that we tend to our child’s symptoms, of course, but we shouldn’t blow them out of proportion.
The best way to treat an illness is to avoid it altogether. How can we do this? Make sure to follow your child’s vaccination calendar. Instill positive habits in regards to healthy eating and physical activity.
“Be sure to take your child to see a pediatrician if the symptoms persist or are intense”
Avoid online searches and self-medicating
Parents who suffer from hypochondria don’t only negatively affect their children’s mental and physical health, as well as their own. They also make serious mistakes. Looking for information on the internet is one of them.
What’s more, some parents even opt for a course of treatment that wasn’t prescribed by a medical professional. They may not even take their child to the doctor before beginning treatment.
Another incredibly dangerous practice is self-medication. This can lead to severe intoxication as well as a future resistance to antibiotics and other side effects.
Finally, you should also seek treatment for your own intense fears regarding illness and injury. Psychologists and psychiatrists are trained to deal with this issue, so you should never feel ashamed. Seeking treatment is one more way to care for your child and demonstrate your profound love and dedication.