Recently in Parenting Category

Yesterday my daughters both had their annual pediatric physicals. Before the appointment, in the waiting room, we had to fill out a "Pediatric Symptom Checklist," see link below, developed at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Of course, I was heartened to see it. It is a screen aimed at recognizing cognitive, emotional and behavioral problems. There are 35 questions and parents are asked to complete the survey with the child and answer "Never", "Sometimes" or "Often" to each, scored 0, 1 and 2, respectively.

I was particularly struck by item 7 which asks "Acts as if driven by a motor." I immediately saw that as code for "dissociative" and was glad to see that there is at least some screening in this area. I felt a twinge of validation.

What I was not at all happy with was that the questionnaire asked nothing about abusive situations. Zero! I wondered how a comprehensive assessment of child emotional health would fail to inquire about experiences which can inflict maximum psychological harm.

I wondered if such questions were not being asked because they would perhaps offend parents, both abusive and non-abusive ones.

I then had a bizarre thought. While it would probably irritate my wife and I personally, I would think it would be far better to have the questionnaire filled out with someone from the medical staff.

Think about the power that abusive parents have over children. And then you wonder when abusive parents are filling out the questionnaire with their children what meaning any of it has at all.

In that case, the screen would be a complete failure.

See Pediatric Symptom Checklist.