Table 3

Examples of parents’ alternative explanations for symptoms

A ‘phase’But there wasn't particularly anything medical that I was thinking about at that point, I thought it [wetting the bed at night] was just a phase she was going through that my other children hadn't gone through. M12
And he had started drinking a lot more, but he went through a phase of drinking a lot at one stage you know and it was about that age and I thought oh you know they're just, he's just going through that phase. M11
PubertyWe were asking him all questions, are you being bullied at school, is there anything you want to tell us, is something happening because he'd just gone really thin and then I was speaking to members of family and friends about it and everybody was saying it's probably puberty because he's thirteen, it's just puberty, he's getting taller. M15
Something [her mother] had said, you know, at 11 she started her period, maybe she thought it was the same for [the child], and you know, maybe that's why, sort of hormones changing, she thought that's why she's so temperamental, you know. F8
‘Being a child/teenager’So actually there is quite a lot which is related to behaviour, which I just put down to her being four and a little bit short tempered and, you know, “I don't like ‘cos my brother's getting too much attention,” M14
Initially [we] just thought it was his [being a ] teenager, starting a new school, sort of mixing with different people, so we didn't really take an awful lot of notice. M2
Growth spurtI was thinking “oh well a lot of people have said the children are shooting up that way and obviously they become thinner for a while until it all evens its way out”, so I was sort of rationalising that, thinking “oh that will just be a growth spurt”. M13
She looked skinny, didn't she, and we assumed that she'd.....gone tall, you know how they do. M3
Separation anxietyI was aware that he was drinking more but because of all the shenanigans about the mugs, again I just thought you're just playing, you're playing me here because his dad's away. M10
Hot weatherShe drank an awful lot that week, yeah, but that week was very, very hot as well and it coincided with some very hot weather here. So again, it was something that was odd but I wasn't unduly sort of concerned at that point. M12
It [had] been nice weather so he spend time in the garden…Yeah, to play around and we thought, okay, sometimes maybe he needs some more sleep to get more energy for rest of the day… F7
SchoolBut I thought “Oh it's end of term, we're all tired quite frankly, we're all ready for the summer holiday, I expect Sarah's tired as well” M12
I guess again we just put it down to she's just started school, she's getting used to the routine and that's what we thought it was. M14