Good Advice from a Sea Turtle to a Fish
Pediatric advice from turtles and fish?
This short post will cover from those early potty-training years to the teen years.
I was recently watching the movie Finding Nemo with my son. I don't think I had seen it before. My favorite character was the surfer sea turtle.
Midway through the movie, Nemo's anxious father is wondering about childhood readiness and asks "Dude-Crush" the sea turtle:
"But-but-but dude, how do you know when they're ready?"
Crush (in a surfer-dude voice): "Well, you never really know. But when they'll know, you'll know, you know?"
Watching my own children growing up, I'm often wondering if they are ready for this, that or the other--potty training, learning ABC's, trying to cycle, etc.
Often parents ask us about child readiness for things like potty training. This can be difficult to navigate and hard to know then they are ready.
But rather than asking, "when is my child ready?" the better question for a parent is, "when am I ready?"
A great article at www.healthychildren.org about potty training has the following advice:
Is Little Joe Ready? Perhaps the better question is, “Are you ready to potty train your child?” Parents are ready when they can devote up to three months of daily encouragement to their toddler. Although there is no set age to begin potty training, most children start to show an interest between the ages of 18 months and 24 months, according to the AAP. Some children are not ready until they are 2 1/2 years old, however, so let your child’s reactions be your guide.
You can read the full article here- https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/toddler/toilet-training/Pages/Its-Potty-Time.aspx
Parents should keep the "parent readiness" rule of thumb in mind when bringing their teen to see the doctor.
As they are maturing, it's important that your adolescent has an opportunity to speak to the pediatrician alone, especially during their annual check up.
This affords them a chance to take an active and independent role in the care of their health and allows you as a parent to respect their privacy.
Your provider will most likely structure the visit in such a way that there will be an opportunity to be interviewed with your teen in the exam room and then your teen (if they know they're ready) can talk to their doctor alone.
If the parent is never "ready" for an office visit structured this way, before you know it the child is now 18 and is an adult at the internist's office and may find it hard to navigate their health care independently.
What Nemo's father finally learns at the end of the movie- Spoiler alert! (but I suppose that I'm the only one just getting around to seeing this Disney classic)- he learns that he must let go and that his son Nemo can, in fact, do it on his own. Nemo's father realizes that he was "ready" as a parent .... and everything turned out ok.
Here's another article if you're finding adolescent independence a challenge-
We're here for your family for more than just sick visits. We're here to help you navigate through childhood and adolescent issues too. Give us a call and we'll be here when you are ready.
Primary Care Pediatrics