Does Complaining About Health Affect Children Negatively?


I have been searching everywhere on the Internet to see if I can back up this claim that my husband heard on the radio.

He heard that parents who constantly complain around their children about their health problems has psychological effects on the children. These children tend to believe they are always sick and can become hypochondriacs. I think it was his way of telling me that I may complain too much about my health. I don’t have anyone else to really talk to about it besides him.

To me I think it is better to be honest with your kids. I do try to hide some of it from my son but everyone with CFS knows there is only so much you can hide. If you can’t move, you can’t move. It’s kind of hard to fake that.

The only thing I found online was from Dr. Joyce Brothers who answered this ladies question in a Q & A:

Dear Dr. Brothers: My 5-year-old son constantly complaints about his health. Is it possible for a person to be a hypochondriac at such an early age? If so, what would make him this way? And what, if anything, should I do about it?

His father says to ignore it and he’ll grow out of it if we pay no attention. What’s your view? D.I.

Dear D.I.: A tendency toward hypochondria can begin very early in life. Before taking any action, talk with your doctor about these complaints to make sure there’s nothing actually physically wrong with your son. His hypochondria might simply be an attempt to get more attention from his parents, or to avoid having to do something he doesn’t wish to do.

As I’m sure you know, children imitate their role models, so if they observe parents complaining about physical health, whether for real or psychological reasons, they’re apt to repeat this behavior.

Your husband is correct in that parents shouldn’t reward this kind of habit with special treatment. If your son gets a minor scratch, compliment him for being brave.

If someone close to a child a parent, grandparent or even another child has been ill around the child, he might begin to worry that the same thing is going to happen to him. He might get overly concerned about his health. If this is true, encourage him to talk about his fears so you can reassure him.

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  1. What a great topic! I’m always told that I shouldn’t tell my dd about my health issues. She’s almost 9 and understands so much. My hubby says that she wants to take meds because she sees me taking them. Well what do I do, hide away every 3 hours? It’s a struggle to know what is right and wrong.

    I don’t dwell on my illnesses but I won’t hide or lie to her either. I’d love to get some real answers about this too.

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