DEAR MISS MANNERS: When I took my 5-year-old to the pediatrician for a physical, the child was playing a video game on my phone while waiting for the doctor.
The doctor knocked, came in, said "Hi" with a smile. He looked at my kid and while saying, "Hi, how are you doing?" he took the phone from my kid's hands without asking.
I was offended. I do not think this is appropriate to do to anyone, not even a child. He should have said: "Hey, buddy, we need to pay attention now. Let's leave the game for another time."
I did not say anything because I don't want to strain the patient-doctor relationship and because he is a good doctor. Still, I want to point this out to him so that he minds his manners. My child should not get used to adults being disrespectful toward him.
How should I have communicated my discomfort to the doctor about his behavior without making the next visit awkward?
GENTLE READER: It has been Miss Manners' experience that professionals who spend time around children understand their desire to be treated like adults, but your pediatrician seems instead to have modeled his own manners on those of a child.
Very well. Ask the doctor for the phone, and then show it to your child in front of the pediatrician, saying, "Dylan, the doctor would appreciate it if you would put your phone away so that he can examine you."
A good pediatrician will recognize a parent modeling good behavior. Dylan, who did nothing wrong, will be irritated, but you can explain it to him in the car on the way home.