What kind of explanation does my child need before surgery?
Adolescents are capable of understanding things in a manner similar to
adults. What will happen to them should be explained in detail, both openly
and honestly. Adolescents frequently are worried about sophisticated
concepts such as body disfigurement, pain, needles, diagnosis, prognosis,
and even death. Often they will have such questions without telling anyone
and hide their fears. It is important to anticipate your adolescent's
questions by discussing the surgery prior to meeting with the surgeon and
anesthesiologist; you may want to write questions down so that your
adolescent's concerns can be answered despite a reluctance to pose the
questions in person.
Similarly, elementary school children require an upfront and honest
explanation, at a level that is appropriate to their age level. In a direct but
simpler way they need to be told that although they will be separated for a
while, but they will be reunited when he / she wakes up from sleep. Reassure
your child that nothing bad will happen from the surgery and that it needs
to be done to fix a problem that won't go away by itself. Let your child
guide the discussion by asking what concerns he or she may have,
and try to answer them directly.