Little bit of disclosure, I'm a 21-year-old who has no kids, but am a hobbyist writer. I am writing a story with a family and asked this question here because I want to hear from real parents as to how this situation could be resolved/assisted in my story.

So, one of my characters from his youth (he is currently 13) has disliked visiting the doctors and has been terrified of needles since very young. He's tried multiple different methods to evade, even fiddling with clocks and calendars to buy a bit more time to make an escape. His parents have tried to be supportive, but he's just too frightened and phobic of needles to deal in a constructive manner, and it always ends up in an all-out battle at the doctors office.

A few additional points:

*Tracy understands his parents are just trying to keep him safe. He's too afraid to care.

*Punishment is rather ineffective-if he can put up enough of a fight that the doctor has to give up, he feels that he's won, no matter the cost in loss of privileges/groundings.

*He has refused any sort of counseling for said phobia, as even simply talking about syringes is enough to put him on the edge of a freakout.

*The fear is strong enough that he hides even serious injuries as best he can in an attempt to avoid visiting the doctor.

Thanks for any assistance.

EDIT: A little more info--my character isn't human, but was raised in a human-like manner on a world mostly inhabited by humans. He is a young dragon, which in D&D have 'genetic memory', basically inheriting some of their parent's memories and learned behaviors. His father is a military combat veteran, so Tracy has inherited some of dear ol' dad's combat instincts and training. Hence the reason that he goes into 'combat mode' instead of fainting like a normal sufferer of BII phobia--he's reacting as a soldier would in a dangerous situation.

He avoids the doctor in general, even going out of his way to make large detours if his intended route strays close to a hospital, veterinary clinic, pharmacy, tattoo parlor, etc. Even a picture of a needle can make him freak.

Unfortunately, at only 13 years old, he is long from being considered an adult by dragon standards, who reach adulthood at 1,500. A breath weapon is also somewhat detrimental to the performance of a nasal flu vaccine, so that is off the counter as an option. For dragons, it's not until 50 that they have all their important childhood vaccines. Even if it is just a visit for a checkup, he's always paranoid that someone is going to try and stick him.

As stated above, his parents just want to keep him safe and healthy, but Tracy will have none of it. He's decided that needles are terrifying, that you can't trust doctors, and who cares if life is a bit shorter than it could be? His mother and father do care, which is why they keep bringing him in.

Perhaps I'm a little confused on symptoms or phobias, but I'm just trying to ask for ideas on what his parents might do to try and help.

A couple other notes:

*Distraction does not ever work-his inherited military instincts automatically concentrate all his attention on what he considers a threat.

*When surrounded and heavily outnumbered/outmassed, he will give up, but it's still going to make him quite upset and afraid.

  • How old is the child?
    – Joe
    Aug 21 '20 at 14:21
  • The character is in his early teens.
    – Jazzyamx
    Aug 21 '20 at 14:33
  • Is he afraid of needles or syringes or doctors? Those are three very different things. And what caused the phobia to begin with?
    – Kat
    Sep 3 '20 at 3:39
  • @Kat, Well, um, yes. He has blood-injection-injury phobia, and because doctors are intrinsically connected to those things,is always nervous and on guard around them. Though his first doctor's visit was quite traumatic, his phobia is genetic. What makes things hairier for the doctors is that he doesn't faint like most suffers, but goes into a sort of 'combat mode' instead.
    – Jazzyamx
    Sep 3 '20 at 17:40
  • Can you add some more detail to your question? Is he specifically afraid of just needles and avoids doctors to avoid shots, or is he also afraid of other things like blood? What exactly are the parents goals? Is he missing vaccines they're trying to get him, do they need to take him to the doctor for non vaccine reasons (I think you have all your vaccines by 13 so that seems more likely)? Have they tried any of the therapies/treatments that are typically used for this condition? Why does he go into "combat mode" instead of having typical symptoms? That condition irl isn't for sure genetic...
    – Kat
    Sep 3 '20 at 20:35

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.