When a child encounters a new environment and new people, there is a dynamic interchange of emotions. Alongside other cues, this determines belief, self belief, longer term reactions which affect the ability to cope and to recover.
A patient’s goals, motives, or experiential feelings change medical outcomes at any age and this is particularly the case throughout childhood.
A Changing Reliance
Care has a community context, a need for a child to know they can rely on an adult. Other practical and emotional aspects vary as they grow.
In infancy, reliance on caregivers is paramount during stressful circumstances. In preschool years, self awareness and consciousness emerge, varying feelings toward different people become clearer and reliant on experience.
Throughout the next few years, children learn to problem solve according to situation. Their understanding of norms in behaviour grows, along with ways to utilise them in relationship dynamics, including distancing strategies.
As adolescence approaches, their depth of control in stressful circumstances increases, an ability to consider different solutions and strategies. This brings an ability to offer genuine emotional expression, or managed displays.
Towards the end of childhood, greater awareness of emotion occurs and greater contradiction, such as guilt about feeling angry. A young person’s character and personal philosophy develop, including how they deal with stress.
A worrying situation can be deflected with controlled self presentation, essentially impression management. Their awareness of mutual communication and emotion can give confusing signals, even unintentionally.
Relating To Medical Staff
The path described above is a journey to emotional competence we all take, influenced by social experiences, relationships, unique factors in each child.
In adulthood, we may be polite when not wishing to be, or appear to dismiss an issue which is of concern. These strategies can have sound reasons but in a medical context, need to be overcome.
For children, seeing the reality of their perception is vital and should be part of a doctor’s skills, along with offering good care without thinking about this.
If a caregiver naturally meets a child’s needs, they see the situation they are in as a safe, trustworthy place. If medical staff are less predictable, unresponsive, or perceived as hostile, insecurity follows.
At different ages and as individuals, children have varying emotional strengths. A doctor must be able to appreciate them and maintain a supportive link, understand the elements of care which create a protective feel.
As welcome as kindness is, this is equally about promoting positive outcomes, now and in the long term. How an adult views medical care, their own health and solutions to related problems are often founded in childhood.
In depth training in paediatric maxillofacial care can help, although staff selection matters as much. Childhood is for life and critical moments in this deserve people dedicated to supporting children.