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Can a “word” bias your parenting?


If I tell you that one properly placed word can change the way you view your child’s ailment, you will probably pooh-pooh it. But that is exactly what happens when you meet your doctor.


In a recent findings in Pediatrics, Scherer and her colleagues published that a physician’s choice of words can have a significant impact on parental decision-making.


The Research:

Between 2011 and 2012, researchers surveyed 175 parents (average age ~ 35) in two setting:

– a pediatric clinic waiting room

– an examination room.

Most participants were mothers and described as highly educated.

The average age of their kids were 4.5 years.

About one-fifth of these children had been previously diagnosed with GERD.


The Result:

Those parents who were given a “GERD” diagnosis ended up being interested in treating their infant with drugs despite being specifically cautioned that drugs wouldn’t work. Those without the specific diagnosis name, were not.


So What?

The study highlights the powerful impact that a physician’s choice of words can have on parental decision-making, while emphasizing the importance of good doctor-patient/parent communication.


So, next time you walk into a physician’s office, remember this hidden bias that might force you to put your child on unnecessary chemicals.

Author: TxNaturalPediatrics

By training, I am a American Board Certified Pediatrician. But in my younger years I grew up with natural alternatives. As a mom I have tried to incorporate both for my kids and it has worked wonders. And finally, as I am studying natural & alternative medicines, I realize the beauty and wisdom of living closer to earth. Hence in my practice I integrate both...for acute ailments I follow American Academy of Pediatrics recommendation but for simple and/or chronic conditions I prefer natural alternatives. In western training we were raised to think that "health is the absence of symptoms and problems". But eastern sensibilities has educated me that "Health is state that allows one to use the full capabilities of their body, mind and intellect. Therefore, healthy living is a balanced state of well being: physically, mentally, socially and spiritually." This implies that healing is not a "one-pill-fits-all", but a personalized experience.

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