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To let my four year old watch real life medical programmes

(19 Posts)
clemette Sat 05-Sep-09 23:26:14

I am conflicted on this so would really like your views. I work in antenatal education and am just about to start medical school and so, on the occasional times I get the TV to myself I have the sky box tuned to Discovery Home and Health. When I was pregnant with DS, DD and I used to watch Home Birth Diairies as I was planning a home birth, knew I would labour quickly, and wanted to desensitise her to the noises I might make and faces I might pull.

Anyway, since then she constantly asks to watch the medical programmes. On occasion we have watched them together and she is absolutely fascinated by what she sees. She asks lots of questions about what is happening to the different parts of the body and seems to get a great deal of enjoyment from sitting with me asking questions. Often when she is playing she wants to play doctors and she asks me lots of questions about what things I am going to do.

Dh, however, is a bit uncomfortable with it. He gets a bit flummoxed when he is greeted from work with "Daddy, a man fell off his motorbike and broke his leg in three places and the doctor had to put a big metal stick in his leg". She never seems to be bothered by the idea of the accidents.

So, what to do. Do I treat it like any other childhood interest? If she was interested in dinosaurs I would watch programmes about dinosaurs with her for example (not that she would because she is scared by dinosaurs)... Or am I letting her see/know too much for a 4.5 year old?

PeedOffWithNits Sat 05-Sep-09 23:30:50

as long as she is not scared by what she sees, no problem

clemette Sat 05-Sep-09 23:33:43

(shamefacedly corrects "what things I am going to do" to "what I am going to be doing") blush

CarmenSanDiego Sat 05-Sep-09 23:35:28

Interesting question. Personally, I think children are very interested in the body. Knowing about organs and anatomy does no harm on its own. My older dd begged to go to the Bodyworlds exhibit (dead bodies 'plasticified' (that's not the right word, but near enough) and loved it. dd2 (then 5) came along and took occasional interest in parts and was mainly just bored but certainly didn't appear in any way freaked out.

Not sure about horrible motorbike accidents, but I suspect children won't be scared by seeing a sterile operation, but they might be scared if they saw a violent re-enactment of the accident itself.

If the child shows fear or anxiety, then there's a problem. But if they're genuinely interested and asking questions, then I see no problem. Birth does make them more interested in how the body works though and imo that's quite healthy and normal.

PixiNanny Sat 05-Sep-09 23:39:05

If she isn't fazed by it then let her see it, however keep it to the extent of what they show during her waking hours I see no reason why she shouldn't watch it if she isn't having nightmares or isn't trying to cut pople up herself grin

DEMifnotwhynot Sat 05-Sep-09 23:42:18

The way i see it it as with peed off said but also
Kids who grow up the in the bush are not freaked out with the fact that they eat what used to be running around and that animals eat other animals. My ds will happily tell you that the cat loves to catch and eat birds and mice. He thinks its perfectly normal.
Life is just like that. I would be concerned with the contents emotional impact but i have left my 4 yo watch stuff about archeology and see the lindow man bog body that most parents would deem unsuitable.

Just be prepared for graphic discussions over dinner.It can get really gross, and off-putting when you are trying to eat.

LynetteScavo Sat 05-Sep-09 23:44:24

Sounds fine to me.

DS2 (60 loves all things medical. He thinks I'm highly unreasonable to not let him stay up to watch Holby City.grin

I would certainly let him watch real life stuff, though.

Is your DH a bit sqeemish?

clemette Sat 05-Sep-09 23:50:11

Thanks for the replies - I just wasn't sure whether my obvious interest in medicine was clouding my judgement.
LS - DH is not squeamish but carries some baggage from a very reserved and withdrawn upbringing. His parents did not believe in discussing anything "adult" with him, so he sometimes finds it a bit odd that I am so matter of fact with her about how the body works. He doesn't disapprove, he just find it a bit surprising I think.

NotPlayingAnyMore Sun 06-Sep-09 00:27:24

I think it's fine. My DS (8) is similarly unbothered while I'm cringing away from scary things like that.

I myself don't "do" blood, but can - for example - happily describe his tooth extraction in minute detail while even the least squeamish of people drop like flies around me blush

Maybe one day your DD will make a great doctor herself

chegirl Sun 06-Sep-09 15:18:56

My DS3 was fairly obsessed with medical programmes when he was 2-3. Even though the Holby City/casualty type ones were on late for him I let him watch.

They helped him work out his feelings about his sister's illness and death. Some people found it disturbing and were judgy about it but I firmly believe it was for the best.

He would wear his 'scrubs' most days and use little boxes of raisens as shock paddles!

It was someting he needed to do and the programmes helped him to discuss what had happened and how he felt about it.

Some children would be frightened by these programmes and some love them. So YANBU at all IMO.

glaskham Sun 06-Sep-09 15:40:45

Honestly my DS (4.5yo) and DD1 (3.5yo) watch home birth diaries with me along with the other labouring programmes. DD1 even once led on the sofa with her legs in the air, made screaming grunting noises then pulled a dolly from up her top... she knows that a baby comes from a mummy's front bottom, and also that sometimes a baby comes from a mummy's tummy with a doctor cutting it...

As i was PG with my DD2 at the time i thought it may be easier to help them get used to the noises and what to expect etc... DS knew that although he'd see me in pain and upset that i'd be ok and would be very happy when the baby arrived. it just happened that DD2 was 8wks prem, they saw me with waters burst, saw me having contractions for a few hrs and also saw my scar post-section and have both been very at ease with it.

It was also important for me to in a way 'de-sensitise' them to the whole birthing and hospital process as Dh is a heamophobic- I wanted them to feel at ease so DH didn't have to deal with his own feelings and theirs.

So, in answer to your question, no YANBU.

sabire Sun 06-Sep-09 15:49:46


My four year old loves the birth clips on here and has added them to his 'favourites' on internet explorer, so he can log on and watch them on his own. He turned 4 in July by the way, so he's very young. He says, 'Mummy, can we watch 'baby get borned again?'. He particularly enjoys the ones where the women are bellowing and screaming. shock

Last week after watching a particularly shouty clip he told me he wished he was a woman so he could have a baby.......

Funny little boy. smile

glaskham Sun 06-Sep-09 15:53:24

sabire- DD1 calls it 'babies being born' game!!grin

charleymouse Sun 06-Sep-09 15:55:24

DD 4.9 loves embarrassing bodies. She likes to act some of them out though worryingly. grin We watch it with her and FF any of the bits we think are really not appropriate.

I think I may start to let them watch some homebirth diaries now as planning a HB in December and it might be good to get them used to what may happen. Thanks for the idea.

Thunderduck Sun 06-Sep-09 16:03:46


sabire Sun 06-Sep-09 16:06:02

My 10 year old dd LOVES Embarrassing Bodies.

I don't mind her watching programmes where she gets to see diseased penises covered in warts and weeping sores. Might discourage her from getting too close to one in RL. grin

bubblagirl Sun 06-Sep-09 16:11:09

i would let my ds watch them if i could access the channel my mum watches

ds loves how clean is your house and is well aware if you dont clean you get germs lol his 4.3 and just loves to watch it

bubblagirl Sun 06-Sep-09 16:12:07

he has watched them round my mums and likes them loves to ask why etc its not damaging to them to see real life things if they were afraid then obviously not but to the curious mind its great

clemette Sun 06-Sep-09 18:15:18

Thank you everyone for taking the time to reply.

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