My Daughter the Hypochondriac

Whether it’s “I don’t feeeeeeeeeeeel good!” said while stalling, to avoid getting out of bed for school or  “My leg hurts!” said while limping from a non-existent wound, you name it, my daughter thinks she has it.

Remember that story we were told as children? The little boy who cried wolf. He kept claiming to see a wolf and said it so many times, no one believed him when there actually was a wolf on the prowl. That’s how I’m starting to feel about my daughter’s many make-believe maladies.

My motherly instinct is battling my journalistic skepticism. Skepticism is winning. It’s being served with a side dish of Mom Guilt. I want to believe her. I want to do what the experts say and validate her need for attention. But, day after day, it’s something new. She’s the oldest of three. Surely, she wants/needs/craves some attention. I’m trying to give it to her. But instead of feeling sympathy, I’m feeling annoyed!

What’s worse, the disease seems to be contagious! My five year old son is following in his eight year old sister’s footsteps. He’s told me three times this morning “I don’t feel good.” Again, enter our friend Skepticism. Ooh- make it four – no five – times. He just said it two times in a row. His complaint? His tummy and throat.

One of my daughter’s teachers said the most profound thing I’d ever heard about my little girl: “She really feels her feelings.” So, a stomach ache may be nerves. A headache may be stress. “I don’t feeeeeeel good” may be… well, that’s the problem. I don’t know what it is! I can, however, guess that her sudden limp that came on just prior to soccer practice last night may have something to do with the fact that she’s said she doesn’t want to play anymore…

Don’t get me wrong. I adore her! She is a creative, sweet, caring and beautiful child. She is a big helper. She is a hug and a kiss on a rough day. I just want us to have a closer, less skeptic, relationship. I want to believe her, without doubt, when she says things like “I don’t feel good.”

Moms- how do you get past the hypochondria and get your kids to actually express what’s bothering them?


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