Pediatricians Who Pass Judgment on Parents are Doing Their Jobs

I've been consistently lucky with the pediatricians we've ended up with over the years, especially considering I take my kids to a group practice where I usually tell the scheduling desk I'll take whichever appointment's most convenient. Since we don't really have a specific medical professional that we visit each time, my kids have been treated and checked by a variety of people: men and women, old and young. They've all been great, maybe particularly the elderly gentleman who examined my furious, drooly, red-faced baby, and wrote "TEETHING BIG TIME!!" with a flourish in his chart.

The doctors we've seen have shared advice and guidelines, or maybe gently corrected my own misunderstandings on some subject. Thankfully, no one's ever straight-up called me out for my faulty parenting -- but apparently being scolded by a judgmental pediatrician isn't all that uncommon.


I've heard about unpleasant pediatrician experiences before, where doctors basically don't hold back when it comes to sharing their opinions about child-rearing. In an example shared by a CafeMom forum member, her child's doctor literally gasped out loud in horror when she reminded her special needs son that if he behaved during the checkup she'd take him to McDonalds afterwards -- then proceeded to lecture her about not bribing kids with food.

I'm a little surprised that the doctor showed such a strong reaction, especially in front of the boy, but pediatricians aren't robots programmed to dispense universally-agreed-upon medical advice. They're experts in the field of children's health, and that's a job that requires them to make decisions based on facts AND opinion. This doctor wasn't specifically being asked to share her thoughts about junk food or food as a reward, but she likely believed she was offering helpful guidance by telling the mom how she felt.

Of course, that doesn't mean we have to follow every piece of advice our pediatricians give us, nor do we have to put up with a doctor who comes across as extremely judgmental and pushy. If my kid ended up with a doctor I didn't feel comfortable with, I'd ask to see someone else. It's important to me that I meet with pediatricians who have somewhat similar parenting philosophies, because then I can listen to their advice for what is is, instead of wondering if he or she disagrees with my parenting style.

My favorite doctors are the ones who tell me how things should ideally go, then acknowledge how hard it can be. Like the woman I saw a couple years ago who gave me some standard advice on exposing my picky-eaters to new foods … then agreed that sometimes a PB&J and a Flintstone's is the best you can do for the day, and there was nothing wrong with that. (I almost kissed her.)

Have you ever encountered a judgmental pediatrician? What did you do?

Image via maunzy/Flickr

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