Medical Patient Modesty - a non-profit organization to improve patient modesty in medical settings


Tips For Parents of Young Children

Pediatric Modesty is an issue that is rarely addressed. It is important that pediatric modesty also be addressed. Parents often want their children to go to doctors for checkups and certain problems, but they fail to think about how their children may feel about modesty in medical settings. Even young children can be sensitive. Many children are taught that their parents or certain relatives should only touch their private parts and to report if someone touches their private parts. Some children as young as 3 years old know what a bad touch is. Some young kids are taught that they should not let someone of the opposite sex to see them naked after a certain age. They don't feel it is any different with nurses and doctors. Children are often frightened when doctors or nurses do things to certain parts of their bodies because of what they were taught about bad touch and modesty. Some children are already very frightened at a doctor's office due to previous vaccination experiences.

You should always strive to stand up for your children's wishes. If your child is not comfortable with having a genital exam, work to honor her/his wishes. Many kids have gotten upset because they felt their modesty was violated. Remember that pelvic exams are often unnecessary for young girls who have not reached puberty yet.

Always take time to research procedures, medicine, and diagnosis. Don't trust that the doctor is always right.

Some young kids are uncomfortable with strange nurses bathing them. If your child is hospitalized, try to be available to give her/him a bath yourself or be present when the nurse bathes him/her to make him/her more comfortable.

Check out an article about young children and modesty by Holly Goodwin. She had a bad experience at age 5 when she was misdiagnosed with a yeast infection. She actually had Interstitial Cystitis and the cream that was prescribed for yeast infection made things worse. Holly has provided a lot of wonderful insights about how parents can be sensitive to their children's needs for modesty.

Help your child to think in advance about what parts of her/his body need to be examined before she/he goes to the doctor. Encourage your children to speak up if something makes them uncomfortable. Make sure they know that they have the right to decide if they want same gender nurses or doctors for certain things and that they can refuse to take clothes off for certain procedures or even refuse certain procedures.

If your child want an all same gender team for certain procedures or surgeries, work hard to advocate for his/her wishes no matter how hard it is. Your child will appreciate your sensitivity to his/her needs for modesty.

Be sure you check out the article about teenagers and modesty.




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