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Am I Supposed to Be Afraid Of My Daughter's Doctor?

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September 8, 2011

Because I am. Well, not her pediatrician. I love my daughter’s pediatrician. She can be stern–and a little paranoid–but for the most part she is the nicest doctor I’ve ever encountered. She ends every appointment by telling me, “You’re doing such a beautiful job.” So nice, right?

Now my daughter’s dentist on the other hand–totally different story. She isn’t exactly mean, but she is icy. She doesn’t smile or even smirk. She talks in short sentences and stares me directly in the eyes when she speaks. Actually, she’s probably looks right through me. My daughter is already freaked out when we go to the dentist, so I don’t think she picks up on the doc’s vibe. But I definitely do. I would never, ever, question what she says like I do with our pediatrician. Heck, I show up to the appointments half an hour early just to stay on her good side. Point blank–I’m kind of scared of her.

So you’re probably thinking, “Why the hell do you go to this woman?” Well, for one, she is an excellent dentist. My feelings aside, my daughter actually seems to respond just fine to her down-to-business demeanor. She’s calm, she doesn’t cry or squirm and she leaves the appointments smiling. The other reason I won’t break up with this dentist is because I think the fear factor actually works to my daughter’s advantage. You see, I’m terrified the dentist will be able to tell when I don’t floss my daughter’s teeth or catch me lying about brushing twice a day and that fear makes me more diligent with my little girl’s dental hygiene. Crazy, I know, but she’s scared me into taking better care of my little girl’s teeth.

On the flip side, when our pediatrician said I should switch from whole milk to 1% or try sitting my daughter in a steamy bathroom to help with her chest congestion, it was in one ear and out the other. And I think it’s because I’m not afraid of her.

So perhaps maybe the ideal doctor-parent relationship does involve a little fear. Sound crazy? Or make sense? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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