Parent reaction can affect kids’ pain

Parent reaction can affect kids’ pain

Let’s start this the same way I’m going to end it. You can parent your kids however you like. When your child falls, it can be quite a shock and a horrifying experience, but it can also not be as bad as you think. They tend to look to you for guidance on how they should feel in certain circumstances and it is important you know the best way to act.

This is how I would deal with it:

  • Recognise that something has happened “ouch, that hurt. Are you okay?”
  • They’re okay, if you’re okay. “Oh yes, that must have hurt. Let me have a look. It looks like you will be fine”
  • Treatment. Kiss it better, use anything you like to help them feel like it’s been sorted and can be forgotten about.
  • Distract. Stat! Get them back into the next activity or jump back on the playground.

**We’re talking about minor falls (boo boos, if you will) above. Be careful that the child isn’t genuinely hurt. Limping, or favouring of one side can be indicative, as can the child holding the area in a protective manner. If that’s the case it’s best to get some further advice!

As a health practitioner, we need to be aware that parental anxiety and family traits can greatly impact the situation when a child is in pain. Reassurance is more important than you would believe, and sometimes that might be more for the parent than the child in pain.

Ultimately, you should always remember that you can parent your kids however you like!

Look after yourselves (and your kids),


Kraljevic, S., Banozic, A., Maric, A., Cosic, A., Sapunar, D., & Puljak, L.  (2012).  Parents’ pain catastrophizing is related to pain catastrophizing of their adult children.  International Journal of Behavioural Medicine, 19(1), 115-119.

Chambers, C., Taddio, A., Uman, L., McMurtry, C., HELPinKDS Team. (2009).  Psychological interventions for reducing pain and distress during routine childhood immunizations: a systematic review. Clinical Therapy, 31, Suppl 2, S77-S103.

Goodman, J., & McGrath, P. (2003). Mother’s modeling influences children’s pain during a cold pressor task. Pain, 104(3), 559-565.

Logan, D., Simons, L., & Carpino, E. (2012).  Too sick for school? Parent influences on school functioning among children with chronic pain.  Pain, 153(2), 437-443.