Have you ever taken deliberate actions to make your child sick? This sounds a gruesome statement for sane parents, right? Unfortunately, there are parents who either induce illness or fabricate symptoms so their child can assume a sick role.
This is the strange parenting disorder called Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy or MSbP, a name originated from Baron Von Munchausen, a famous traveller known for his outlandish stories. The majority of the offenders in reported MSbP cases are mothers with victims who are commonly preschool children, though occasional infant and teenager cases are reported too.
The mothers or caregivers usually simulate illness by fabricating symptoms, like providing false medical history, exaggerating medical conditions, faking evidence or doing the most sinister way, which is inducing illness. They can add a drop of blood in the child’s urine sample to fake evidence or perhaps injects a harmful fluid in the child to induce illness.
These cases will go unnoticed for long periods of time because it is difficult to detect. Doctors usually rely on parents' statements for symptoms and medical history during initial consultations, though these claimed medical symptoms are oftentimes proven wrong in the laboratory test results. However, the child’s illness will persist because the mother continues to assert the symptoms that the child suffers.
The only indication that will tell if the child is a victim of MSbP is the time the child is away from the perpetrator. The child is well, healthy and never or rarely gets sick during the absence of their mother or caretaker.
Though Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy stirs a great level of controversy, this condition is considered as one of the most harmful forms of child abuse. Being familiar with this strange parenting disorder can help you somehow save a vulnerable and defenseless child from such harmful abuse.
Sources: www.kidshealth.org, BBC News Health
Cyra Miles is a freelance writer living in Abu Dhabi, UAE and her areas of interest are travel, events & holidays, health, culture & society, human interest stories and education.