Feeling No Pain

If your child overreacts to touch, you'll never be in doubt when something hurts him. He'll deliver that news loud and clear. But if your child underreacts to touch, you may have to be the pain police. He may have stomach problems and not feel them or an ear infection and not be aware of it. This can lead to serious consequences if problems go untreated.

Tune into your child's pain capacity by observing how she reacts to things that would start another child crying. Does she fall and jump right back up again? Does she find things like hitting her head against the wall or the floor entertaining? Do you need to follow signs like slowed behavior, sluggishness, or fever to diagnose illness because she never says anything about feeling sick? Consider that your child may have trouble processing pain, and use this as a cue to keep a very close eye on her.

When your child has an experience that should be painful, model for him what an appropriate response would be. Make a big deal over the illness or injury and how much it must hurt. Point out scenes in movies or books where children use pain as a warning or respond to pain with tears or complaints. Your child may never feel pain in a normal way, but he may be able to learn responses that will keep him safe by letting others know when he's been hurt.

If you know that your child does not feel pain, you will want to keep him under much closer supervision than a child who can monitor this for himself. In case of accident or injury, your child will not be able to give the kind of information doctors may need to treat him.

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