My mother used to say that being a parent was not for the weak or wimpy. She was right; eventually, most parents have to deal with situations that are quite stressful. One of the things that can rattle even the most experienced parent is when a child is dealing with a health issue and requires surgery.
Keep Your Emotions Under Control
When you are stressed and worried, it is hard to control your emotions. If you need to cry and vent, don’t do it in front of your child. If you have other children at home, they are also looking to you to see your reaction. Stay calm and keep your worries to yourself and your partner.
When talking to family and friends, be aware that it is easy for children to listen in on phone conversations. This can cause stress for them and for you!
At some point, it is important to sit down and talk to your child and family about the surgery. If you are very upset and worried, wait until you can present a calm demeanor to speak to your child! When you discuss the situation, you can calmly explain the facts. Answer any questions your child may have in an age appropriate way.
Before you discuss the situation with your child, ask the doctor or surgeon if they have any resources they can recommend like books, videos or websites. I still remember that my mother read me a book about hospitals right before I had surgery to remove my tonsils because I was scared about staying overnight in the hospital. Back in those days, tonsil surgery was a little more involved than it is now and I was in the hospital for quite a few days!
Keep Things As Normal As Possible
If you have other children at home, it’s important to keep life as normal as possible. Of course, some things may need to change at least temporarily, but be sure to discuss these things with your children and emphasize the temporary part.
Ask For Help If and When You Need It
If your child is having a very serious problem, you may need to take her to a special hospital which may be a far way away from your house, and she may need to stay in the hospital after her surgery.
If you have friends or relatives that have offered to help during your child’s illness, definitely take them up on their offers!
When a child needs surgery, it’s a stressful thing. Hopefully, the above suggestions will make this time a little less stressful for your family.