5 Reasons It Might Be Time to Fire Your Child's Pediatrician
A pediatrician should be an ally, a friend, even something of a co-parent. Too many parents, though, find themselves trapped in intractable conflict with pediatricians who don't listen, ignore their wishes, or even harm their children. You're the parent and the customer, which means you get to call the shots, not the other way around. Here are five signs it's time to find a new pediatrician.
1. Your doctor ignores informed consent.
You have a right to know each and every procedure or test that is performed on your child. Your pediatrician can't ever do anything to your child without your specific consent. If they do or threaten to, run quickly to the next doctor.
2. Your doctor doesn't support your parenting choices.
Every family deserves a doctor who's in their corner and who can offer them well-informed advice about how best to pursue the parenting strategy they've selected. If your pediatrician doesn't support your parenting choices, you need to find someone who will. Breastfeeding women, for instance, often need the assistance of a pediatrician to get it right, but a pediatrician who thinks it's time to wean or who won't stop giving you formula samples is ill-prepared to offer you the assistance you need.
3. Your pediatrician is poorly informed.
Some pediatricians cling to outdated parenting advice like it's a life raft. If your pediatrician tells you to do something dangerous, such as give a three-month-old solid food, then they are not only worthless as a doctor, but dangerous. Of course, there's room for professional disagreement, and it's not always easy for parents to determine what's a matter of fact and what's an opinion. If all of the information you find points in one direction while your pediatrician pulls you in another, you may need to find someone else.
4. Your pediatrician bullies or threatens you.
Your pediatrician should be your parenting ally and consultant, not the bully you dread seeing. If your child's doctor bullies you by telling you you're a bad parent, threatens you with forced medical procedures if you don't follow his or her advice, or does anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, you deserve better. It doesn't matter who is right or who is wrong. What matters is having a doctor upon whom you can call when you need help. If you worry you're going to get a lecture or threat when you seek help, you're not going to get the assistance you need and deserve.
5. Your pediatrician mistreats your child.
If your child hates your pediatrician, it doesn't matter why. It's time to choose someone else. The need to select a new doctor becomes even more urgent if your child's pediatrician bullies, belittles, or threatens them. And if your child says the pediatrician has inappropriately touched them or made sexually suggestive comments, it's time to call the police.
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About the Author
Zawn Villines is a writer who specializes in health journalism. She has also extensively written about legal topics, politics, and parenting. She has published work in dozens of print and online publications, including Psychology Today, Medical News Today, GoodTherapy.org, LegalZoom, Daily Kos, Chron.com, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. In addition, she writes medical content for hospitals, doctors, fertility clinics, and other medical providers. She graduated from Georgia State University, where she studied psychology and philosophy.
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