The Fear of FEAR

//The Fear of FEAR

Today I had the most amazing visit with a toddler whom we’ve been seeing for a few weeks.  The story is way too familiar… recurrent ear infections, poor sleep, constantly battling snot.  The most common reason parents seek chiropractic is chronic ear infections.  This little one had had dozens of visits to the ENT specialist, GP and just as many medicinal attempts to “fix” the problem to no avail.  The good news is, in just a few weeks of our care, there is marked improvement and no infection in over one month (a new record!)

But that’s not the important part of the story.  What happens to our youngsters that go through these challenges (or reflux, allergies, constipation and more) is a relational “disconnect” or even a fear.  Little ones who are struggling associate the word “Doctor” with uncomfortable and scary experiences.  Despite every concerned mom or dad’s efforts to have their child “calm down”, it is the LAST thing their nerve system is willing to let them do!  They don’t want to be touched, have their ears looked at, or sometimes even their spine touched.  These kiddos are stuck in FEAR.  A truth of human physiology suggests that we don’t heal when we are stuck in fear. 

Lets be clear… we aren’t blaming anyone for this phenomenon occurring.  It is a perfectly appropriate response to a stressful situation.  However, it is CRITICAL that this “fear” state of the nervous system be a priority.  This begins with tiny baby steps.  Words of encouragement, gentle touch, playful hugs, smiles and more words of love and encouragement.  And this can’t just come from mom and dad!  Everyone, especially health care providers, need to be conscious of and make intentional steps toward diffusing fear.  Providers should have a mindset that we “care for” a kid/person, not take “care of” a condition.  After 30 years of serving kids and families here’s a truth bomb – loving and caring comes first! 

So when you bring your kids in, and they are acting up, don’t sweat it.  We will still love on them.  Moms and dads need to know that your struggling child’s “embarrassing” behavior is not a reflection on you as a parent (or if we think it is, we will chat with you about ideas), but rather an expression of a nervous system that is overwhelmed, topped with a monster-sized scoop of fear.