Angry Pediatricians

Is it normal for pediatricians to be angry, judgmental, and impatient? We only see pediatricians once a year – thank goodness – but it’s always traumatic.

We are with our second practice, and it’s horrible every time. It takes a lot to make me feel like I’m a shitty, inferior mother but I always feel like that around these pediatricians.

Today’s doctor aggressively suggested that something is wrong with Klara if she has such poor language skills and that I need to learn how to communicate with her. You folks know that Klara makes up stories and says things like “we shouldn’t have done it,” so language skills are not a burning issue in her life.

I’m a total wreck after today’s annual checkup.

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19 thoughts on “Angry Pediatricians”

  1. At our practice, which is the best of the three we’ve been to, it bothers me that the doctor gives us general bottled advice like “just, y’know, babyproofing” that I could get from any of a hundred websites or a very basic book on raising young children.

    I get the impression some pediatricians don’t know what to do in a “well” office visit, so they just resort to trivial statements or non-advice. But I can see that same professional emptiness turning into what you describe here if the doctor feels a need to “ward off” blame for some perceived or imagined failure to meet a milestone.

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    1. Every time she gives me a lecture on the superiority of low-fat milk. My kid does not have a weight issue. And I actually don’t trust low-fat options very much.

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    1. The doctor started asking Klara, “what color is the froggy?” Klara just laughed because she perceives it as baby talk. At home we have conversations like “Mommy, why is it important that things are always fair?” We haven’t asked her basic colors in two years. She knows what the word “basically” means. So of course she doesn’t respond to baby talk. I tried explaining it but it was useless.

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      1. Mind you, today I said to a toddler; “You’ve got a green tractor.”
        And his mum says; “It’s a John Deere tractor. We have one at home.”

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  2. Free medical advice:

    If your pediatrician is “angry and inpatient” and has such an inept bedside manner, tell him to go to hell and get a new doctor!

    I also see my (Medicare) physician only once a year, and he’s professional enough to mind his manners during my annual visit.

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  3. At least half of a pediatrician’s job, I think, is supporting the parents, striking a balance between being the guiding authority and deferring to you as her mother, so that you leave feeling bolstered and confident. We have seen A LOT of doctors for our kids, and if you don’t walk out of the office feeling, first, like someone else sees your child for the magnificent creature she is, and, second, like you have a person in your corner who listens to and supports you, then find someone else.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you! This is very well-said. Imagine if I’d gone there with an actual problem. Which is what doctors are actually for. I would have felt like a total shit.

      Nothing is easier than making a mother feel guilty. And that doctor perfected this skill to an art.

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    2. Oh, and she also berated me for not using timeouts. Although I never asked for suggestions or complained about behavioral issues. Because I’d never feel comfortable asking her for advice.

      I have no problem with timeouts or whatever works for people. But if our parenting strategy works for us, then what’s the problem?

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      1. It sounds like she was going down a checklist of standard parenting concerns because you didn’t have any. Find a pediatrician who is content just telling you what an amazing job you’re doing and admiring your daughter. And you’re right; if, God forbid, you ever do have something to discuss, you absolutely want it to be with someone you trust and feel comfortable with. By the way, by pure coincidence, our pediatrician turned out to be someone I took Spanish classes with as an undergrad. He remembers things about each of my kids, never makes me feel rushed, and basically tells me I’m a good mom the whole time. It’s fantastic.

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  4. And all this time I, as a bonafide single, always assumed that society “favors the family at the expense of us singles”.
    I need to start rethinking my assumptions, as you just presented an example of an obvious “discrimination against parents”.

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  5. The pediatricians at the practice we go to are phenomenal. Knowledgeable and respectful, definitely on the parent’s team, not sweating the small stuff, remembering details about the kids. I couldn’t be more pleased! There are great ones out there, I promise! As Vic said, you might need to go to St. Louis to find them.

    However, I hate the GPs at the same practice where the pediatricians are so great and am so traumatized that I generally won’t go. Instead, ask my ob-gyn to do my bloodwork biennially when I go to get a Pap smear. I don’t think I’ve had a real full physical ever because the GP won’t do them, at least not for me. After several years of seeing him I asked if I should get an actual physical, to which he said, “Why would you need one? Is anything bothering you? If not, you don’t need one,” so I shut up.

    Occasionally I will see the xenophobic element pop up with some doctors, so I wonder if that’s why your pediatrician is so negative toward you. Some docs (like some people of any occupation) really dislike foreigners, and hold a special grudge against those whom they perceive as Russian.

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    1. Hmm… That might be true, actually. This doctor tried to attribute Klara’s non-existent language issues to the fact that we are teaching her a foreign language at home. Which we are not, but she just assumed. I didn’t think much of it because there was a lot going on but now you mention it, it is weird that she was trying to create a baseless narrative where we have a kid who barely speaks because we are non-native.

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