Adults are typically scared about what’s wrong with them. Children are scared about what you’re gonna do to them, but in both cases, patients need to know that you’re interested in why they’re there, interested in them as people, that you care about them. There’s lots of different ways to do that. You don’t have to talk about pee and poop. You can talk about the weather, politics, and you can be kind and very serious and still get it across.

It just so happens that part of me never grew up, so pee and poop and that kind of stuff, my patients’ parents see that their kids like this, and so they let me go with it because they realize it makes the kids feel more comfortable.

In the adult world, research has shown that if you come into my office, and I spend just a minute talking to you about something unrelated to why you’re there, you’ll be more satisfied with the visit, and you’ll be more likely to do what I’m suggesting you do, so it improves patient compliance. It’s not just touchy-feely stuff. It actually has an impact on health care.