A Natural Bond
Human interaction between medical staff and children plays a critical role in medicine. The staff need to be people who genuinely care.
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, their ongoing ability to cope and recover.
A patient’s motives and experiential feelings change medical outcomes at any age and this is particularly the case throughout childhood. Children need to know they can rely on an adult, in varying ways as they grow.
A Changing Reliance
In infancy, reliance on caregivers is paramount during stressful circumstances. In preschool years, self awareness and consciousness emerge, 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 relationships, including distancing strategies.
As adolescence approaches, their depth of control in stressful circumstances increases, an ability to consider solutions and strategies. They can offer genuine emotional expression, or managed displays.
Towards the end of childhood, greater awareness of emotion occurs and contradiction, such as guilt about feeling angry, or a range of thoughts.
A young person’s character and personal philosophy develop, their unique approach to the world, 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.
Seeing The Reality
The path described above is a journey to emotional competence we all take, influenced by social experiences, relationships, unique factors in each child.
As in adulthood, children 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, they need to be overcome.
For children, seeing the truth of their perception is vital and should be part of a doctor’s skills, along with offering good care instinctively.
Relating To Medical Staff
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 understand them and maintain a supportive link, appreciate the elements of care which create a protective feel.
As welcome as kindness is, this is also about promoting positive outcomes, now and in the long term. How an adult views medical care, their 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. Critical moments deserve people dedicated to supporting children, childhood is for life.