I imagine being a toddler is difficult. You're constantly doing new, scary things, like going to the doctor, and it's all out of your control. Can you imagine having to go somewhere you've told you've been before, even though you can't remember? And if you can recall a visit, it probably involves shots? Yikes. So when you take your toddler to the doctor they're bound to act like, well, a toddler. That's usually when people will give you the side eye, and you might witness the many ways your toddler is shamed when they visit their pediatrician.
My kids have been shamed at the doctor's office for acting their age, which is honestly to be expected when they're forced to sit in a waiting or exam room for longer than five minutes. They've been shamed for not conforming to gender roles, and for being on the high- and low-end of weight charts. They've also been shamed for not wanting to be touched, being afraid, and crying. I mean, they're kids. Why do we expect them not to show emotion in a stressful, unfamiliar situation? That expectation is without a doubt unfair, if not inherently cruel.
Honestly, I think we expect too much of young children in our culture. We take them to a strange place full of interesting and/or frightening things and then implore them to calm down, be quiet, not touch anything, and stop crying. I mean, how can we expect young children to be able to comply with a set of rules we haven't tried to adequately explain to them, especially when they learn that we'll shame them if they don't? There are so many ways your toddler is shamed at the pediatrician, by their doctor, the staff, other patients, and probably you. It's time that stops. Your child deserves to feel safe at the doctor's office, not shamed for being frightened, and the only way to change this narrative is to admit that we're playing a part in this story.