It's been decided - your child is to have surgery. You're probably feeling a mixture of anxiety and optimism. Rest assured, most parents feel that way. Children who have surgery feel some or all of these emotions, too.

Over the days and weeks ahead, you'll need to talk to your child about his operation... why... what... how. Depending upon age, he may have many questions and concerns, and you'll probably find that you do, too. Thoughtful preparation during this time helps reduce stress, create a more positive attitude, and make the experience go more smoothly for both you and your child.

Preparing Yourself

Parents who are overly anxious or unsure about their child's operation often unintentionally transmit their nervousness and fears to their child. Your child looks to you for reassurance and answers to his or her questions, so it's essential that you have the information and support you need.

It is important during this time to be aware of your response to the upcoming surgery. Acknowledge your feelings and share them with family members, friends, or other adults who are sympathetic and supportive. Just talking about your concerns can help your child manage his or her anxieties.

Understanding as much as possible about what is to be done increases your confidence and assurance. Have your child's doctor explain the surgery to you. Ask for more detail or for definitions of technical terms if you feel something is unclear. Make sure you bring up anything that concerns you.