Pain in children

First up – pain is part of life, everyone’s life, it has an important role to play on a biological and survival level. Generally it’s a warning that something needs our attention, right here right now!

So it’s a bit of an important deal that we teach our kids helpful ways to how to regulate themselves when they’ve got pain and that they can ask for help from us when they’re in pain.

Pain signals that there’s maybe danger around, or an injury or illness that needs a big person to do something that will help remedy it, very importantly we need to demonstrate and teach our kids what regulation is.

So our most important role as parents is not preventing any remote chance of our kids ever experiencing any pain, our most important role as parents it to help them regulate through nurture when they are in pain.

When a child is in pain, it is super, super critically important for the parent to be calm, for the parent to be present and be soothing and say, “Hey, it’s okay. “Hey, it’s okay.”

While I’m red hot on teaching kids regulation, it’s also a real thing that a comforting cuddle is one of nature’s own pain remedies. A nurturing cuddle from parents or caregivers, strengthens immunity, lowers inflammation, and reduces anxiety.

‘Cuddle hormone relieves pain… stimulation of these cells increases oxytocin levels in the body and also has a pain-relieving effect,’ straight from Dr google.

In some cases you want to allow them to experience some pain but the most important role of a parent is not to protect their child from any and every kind of pain.

So even though as parents we sometimes want to respond physically very strongly, we have to regulate ourselves in these moments.

We have to keep neutral because that’s what our kids are basing how to manage this pain on. If the kid’s in pain and our baseline is, “Well if this happening, we freak out, we freak out, we freak out, we freak out…”

Whereas when a child is in pain, physical, mental, emotional pain and we keep a lid on our reaction and stay calm, they’ll go, “Oh, okay, Dad’s calm. I’m in pain, Dad’s calm, I’m in pain, Dad’s calm, I’m in pain, Dad’s calm. Okay, so I can be calm when I’m in pain”.

With that we are teaching them that that’s the natural response.

So, the response of regulation is not to not experience pain, the response of regulation is to experience less intensities and less durations of pain because we can regulate our way out of it.

Now the benefit of this, is not only will their brain develop in more healthy ways, but the more the brain develops the less chance they have of all sorts of conditions including addiction, as a basic example.

Kids who don’t learn how to regulate pain, mental, emotional, physical pain, their brains develop in different ways that can cause issues down the track, significant issues.

So yeah, we want to be teaching our kids how to regulate biologically so they develop healthy brain processing pathways, so they don’t need to experiment down the track with external coping mechanisms to do it for them.

We’re teaching them in every moment of our lives and theirs, they are sponges – remember that!


Kerwin Rae