Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Enabler Parent

With helicopter-parenting being ever in vogue, is it any surprise that modern hospitals have scrambled to accomodate the ever-growing crowds of parents wishing to accompany their children into the operating theatre? Supposedly it reduces psychological trauma for the child and eases the induction process. Honestly there's so much pressure to keep up with the perfect parenting Joneses that it seems almost taboo for any supposedly caring parents to admit that they would rather remain patiently in the waiting room.

Of course that all depends on the discretion of the anaesthesiologist. 

For me, it all depends on the parent. There are certain tough yet tender disciplinarians who actually manage to successfully allay their child's increasing stress just by being present in the room. With a touch, a glance,  a word, that's all it takes for them to get their anxious child in order. I've even seen one military father who just stood at attention at the door while keeping a stern eye on his son who literally frogmarching to the operating table. Seems almost like parenting magic. 

Keep steady, boy. 

And then there are the enabler parents. 

What can I say? I assume they would be the ones desperately trying - but woefully failing - to corral their screaming brats in shopping malls. Since not only do these enabler parents fail miserably in pacifying the paediatric patient, they actually amplify their child's distress by adding their own. 

Nurse : Could you come look at the patient? 
Paul : That small boy? Isn't his mother with him? 
Nurse : Yes. And that's the problem.
Paul : He was perfectly alright a moment ago. Said he wasn't in pain at all.
Nurse : That's not the problem at all. 
Paul : Oh, what is it? 
Nurse : I think the mother's a pain instead. 
Paul : Oh. 

And rather than help with the child's anxiety, the mother just gets increasingly more agitated. Which serves to excite the child, which... yeah it enters a hysterical cycle. So much so that we usually feel like sedating the parent instead. 

So yes, if you feel yourself unable to handle the stress, don't feel obligated. Please remain outside instead. 

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