< 1 min read
I’ve spent my whole life being somewhat of a hypochondriac. I’m not the type who is at the doctor every week but I am the kind of person who contemplates it on a daily basis. Every ache, pain or spasm I encounter spins me into a fear spiral that I’m now ok at getting myself out of, but it took me years to hone that ability. Especially with the COVID-19 Pandemic teaching our kids that there are deadly viruses in the world that can infect people close to them and affect their daily lives, this fear spiral is so hard to keep from the kids and I don’t want mine to grow up afraid of everything, but I also want him to have a healthy understanding about how precious life is and how we have to keep ourselves as healthy as can be. Striking that balance seems hard.
Marked as spam
A pertinent question in the current scenario of COVID 19 pandemic. I have seen and talked to many kids and adults developing a fear of viruses and infections during this time.
We often use the terms “fear” and “phobia” interchangeably. Fear of height, fire and accident is ok, because it helps in protecting you, while phobia on the other hand starts to affect your daily routine life. Phobias can even become debilitating.
It’s important to understand that there is a thin line difference between taking realistic precautions and getting over concerned.
What I try to do as a parent is to discuss illness as something that should preferably be avoided, but can also be cured. Consulting Google for pains and aches is a big No No at our place.
I make conscious efforts to keep my kids form over exposure to disturbing news regarding pandemic. I and my kids have also started watching videos about mental and physical wellness, it really helps in maintaining a positive perspective on health and illness.
I don’t think that you have severe health anxiety, it’s more like a generalized fear, which is quite normal. But, you surely are a very concerned and caring father. I am sure with your support your kids will come out strong from the tough experiences of pandemic.
The fact that you are aware of your tendencies to imagine the worst when it comes to your health is a good start. Access to "Doctor Google" can so easily send us into a spiral when it comes to our aches and pains. As humans, we have an instinct for self-preservation and in some cases, this can cause us to develop unhealthy protective behaviors (such as self-diagnosing possible maladies).
Keeping ourselves healthy and having good physical and emotional self-awareness is important. Behaviors such as good (but not obsessive) personal hygiene habits, eating a balanced diet, getting regular exercise, learning how to regulate our emotions, and recognising changes to our "normal" physical health are all part of this process. These are the things you should emphasise when discussing health with your kids. As parents we can also talk about the way in which our choices and behaviors can affect others, and what steps we can take to be socially responsible while also safeguarding our own health.
Being self-aware enough to listen to our bodies is important, but we should also remember that having access to too much information can be a bad thing. It is worthwhile to remind our kids that if something concerns us, there are experts and specialists such as doctors who can guide us to information that is relevant, rather than overwhelming ourselves with all the information that is out there.
I completely understand what you're going through!
As someone who is also getting older, and things just don't work as they used to, I want to be in tune with what my body is telling me. It may be saying I'm just experiencing a sign of aging, or it may be saying something else.
I think the positive aspect of this is that you are aware of your own body, and know when something is "off." You can teach your son the same. Educating him about how his body works, right down to what the spleen does, he can also learn to be in tune with his body's functions and tendencies.
My oldest did not want to share or talk about her body's functions, and she ended up in the hospital after she could not "relieve" her body of waste. Thankfully nothing qas seriously wrong, and she was told she had to start drinking water and stay hydrated. Ever since then, she is not scared to ask questions if she doesn't feel right.
There is definitely a benefit for your son being aware of what's happening in his body. But it doesn't have to mean worry or fear, it can simply be mindfulness.
Children emulate their parents. Even if you can not help your hypochondriac tendencies, it may be a good rule not to vent your anxieties in front of your children. If they are privy to your frequent anxieties about illness, this reaction will become ingrained as normal and acceptable behavior for themselves.
Some of your tendencies may rub off anyway as it may be a heredity trait. But by controlling their exposure to excessive fear of and attention on illness, your kids may not react as strongly as you.