My passion about Kids!

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As a pediatric nurse practitioner I’ve seen a lot in my 30+ years of practice. I’ve seen babies born, children get sick and get better, and I’ve seen children die - I’ve seen more of this than most people see in a lifetime, many lifetimes. Through all of the thousands of babies and children I’ve taken care of, even the healthy ones, the one thing I know is that kids are vulnerable and are at the mercy of the adults around them. Everything that they need, physically, emotionally, and mentally, depends on us as their parents. And this is true for ALL kids, not just the sick ones.

I’ve seen countless babies born to drug addicted mothers. The mother’s drug addiction is something far stronger and more powerful that I can even imagine because they cannot stop it even knowing the harm that it is causing their unborn child. These innocent little newborns, within hours of birth, suffer the painful withdrawal from opiates. Much like an adult withdraws, they cry, they shriek, they’re highly irritable, they have tremors that can lead to seizures, they can’t sleep, they scratch and sneeze and yawn, and still can’t sleep. In the hospital we help them to wean off the opiate that they had been supplied with for 9 months in utero, rather than go ‘cold turkey’. This can take up to six weeks.

I’ve taken care of a two year old boy with a very small head due to poor brain development because his mother drank a pint of blackberry brandy every day of her pregnancy. I’ve seen some amazing things too. I’ve attended the delivery of quintuplets. I’ve cared for conjoined twins attached at the chest. I’ve seen babies born at 2 pounds survive and grow and develop into healthy young children. And I’ve seen healthy vibrant kids born into luckier circumstances with good health and a loving family.

All of these kids, sick or healthy, are open books, they are little sponges. They receive and absorb into their very beings everything around them - their home, their parents and siblings, their environment. So what we do as parents - everything that we do and say, that we don’t say and we energetically emit, or we nonverbally communicate is absorbed by these innocent, extremely receptive little beings. Much of what they absorb when they’re little they carry with them into adulthood. That means that as parents we have tremendous power and influence over another life. That is huge! Do we all know what to do with this power? And do we know how to best provide for and serve our children? I believe that most of the time we do. But what about those challenging times of tantrums, fighting, arguing, not doing what you ask?

Kids need our love, our time, and our attention - A LOT. When times are good, kids are happy and thriving because they are getting what they need from us. In the more difficult times of challenging behavior, trouble at school, or unhappiness their needs are not being met. It’s up to use as parents to figure out and then provide what they need.

In treating any condition, physical or emotional or behavioral, the root cause, the ‘why’ something is happening is most effective. Getting to the root of why a child is behaving a certain way is finding out what they need. Some kids need a lot of structure and rules. Some kids need less structure and more freedom. Some kids need quiet and time alone. Other kids need a lot of friends and social activities. Some kids need frequent reminders and direction, other kids need the space to figure things out on their own. They’re all different, with different needs, but one thing you can count on, they have their own unique needs which are driving their behavior, that we as parents can provide.

People ask me why I chose Pediatrics - isn’t it hard to see sick children?

Kids with a chronic illness are have amazing attitudes. Their world doesn’t revolve around school and friends and extracurricular activities. Their world revolves around trips to the hospital, medications and treatments. Their friends are the other patients and the doctors and nurses in the hospital They don’t feel sorry for themselves - they adapt! They have an incredible ability to adapt.

Yes, it’s hard to see sick children mostly because it is so hard for the parents. But it’s shown me the abilities and potential that kids have. It’s taught me immense gratitude for my own three children and for life in general. This gratitude carries through to my own kids and to the young children I see in daily life. They all deserve the best that we can do for them always.

My passion is all about helping kids, and [in the process] helping parents to help their kids. All kids whether sick or healthy count on us adults to provide them with what they need. Do you know your child’s unique needs? Do you know why he or she has a meltdown or gets in trouble at school or acts out in a particular way? Understanding their unique needs is how we can best serve our kids - the most precious commodity we have!

julie hatch