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Bonnie, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience:  and pediatric nurse practitioner with 30 years of experience counseling parents.
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My now 4 year old son had a traumatizing event with his Pediatrician

Resolved Question:

My now 4 year old son had a traumatizing event with his Pediatrician and his Pediatric Dentist within a few weeks of each other about 14 months ago. Since the experience he has had nightmares, shown significant distrust towards adults and is terrified of doctors, nurses and dentists. He has also had changes in his behavior. He is quick to break down and get angry, he is having behavior problems in school and at home. My questions are:
1) Do you think counseling is indicated and if so, are we too far from the actual events?
2) How do I know if all these changes are related to the event or are just issues typical for his age?
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Parenting
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 6 years ago.

When are his next doctor's and dental appointments? What kind of negative behavior is he exhibiting at school? Without being too personal, could you briefly explain what his negative experiences were 14 months ago?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
He has a cleaning scheduled in January with his dentist and no scheduled doctor appointments until his 5 year check up in March (unless he gets sick before that time).

At school, his teachers tell me he is not listening, quick to throw a tantrum, occasionally shows aggression by throwing toys, jerks away from the teachers and will try to run & hide under tables when they attempt to redirect him or punish him. I have also noticed that his behavior worsens when a new teacher or assisstant is presented to the class. It seems he has developed a good relationship and trust for one of his teachers that has followed him from his 3 year class to his current Pre-K class.

As a side note I also see him get very upset, jerk away and freak out when a friend, coach or teacher tries to physically direct him or hug him.

The pediatrician experience was mild (and maybe not have impacted him had the dentist part not followed). His pediatrician scratched his ear with the odynoscope at one of his sick visits, so at the next visit he saw the odynoscope and said "no" when she tried to look in his ear. She advised me to hold him in my lap and wrap my arms around him. While he was still wiggling she pushed the odynoscope in his ear and perforated his ear drum. A few weeks later we went to the dentist and he was pretty squirmy & nervous. They restrained him during the exam and forced the plastic things in his mouth for x-rays causing him to throw up. They said he needed to be sedated to have fillings placed. At that appointment while he was still awake they restrained him with actual cloth restraints and forced his head into some sort of holder, then gave him a shot to put him to sleep. He fought every bit of that and he remembers it and cries about being tied up. I was told later that they call those type of dentists "puppy mills" and obviously have never been back.
Expert:  proexpert37 replied 6 years ago.
I am going to allow another expert to answer this question.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Expert:  Bonnie replied 6 years ago.
Hi, I will try to help. I think counseling is in order to process the dentist experience. If you have an EMDR therapist in your area that sees children, that would be best. Oftentimes this trauma is processed using drawing. The changes are likely to be due to the event.

Go to to find a child trauma therapist in your city.

Good luck
Bonnie, Psychologist
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 2189
Experience: and pediatric nurse practitioner with 30 years of experience counseling parents.
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