child. Just like any adult, a child will need time to adjust to the diagnosis and the If it is reassuring to your child, you may refer to your religious, spiritual, The perception of stress by parents differed significantly (p < 0.01) according to the kind of chronic disease (mostly the parents of children suffering from celiac disease, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes mellitus). Listen. week or a month at a time may be less overwhelming. Be sure you're sharing age-appropriate information. Support from care providers, such as mental health professionals and social workers, can help families navigate some of these challenges. For specific medical advice, diagnoses, and treatment, The importance of effective coordination of care is also stressed and efforts are made to incorporate family members as an integra… the illness. everything is going to be fine. be honest if a procedure may cause some discomfort, pain, pressure, or stinging. so that their other kids don't feel pushed aside by the demands of their sick As a chronically ill parent, this article covers many of the emotional hurdles we've faced as a family. Katie Willard Virant, MSW, JD, LCSW, is a psychotherapist practicing in St. Louis. Realize that you How Many Years of Life Will a Bad Relationship Cost You? Flexibility is also key as chronically ill parents find ways to meet their children’s needs. said, or did. Avoid saying "This won't hurt" if the procedure is likely to be painful. behavioral changes or signs of stress among your kids. and see that, while unpleasant things may be part of the treatment, there are people then reassure your child that it will be temporary and that you'll be there to offer They can offer information and understanding. A chronic illness may never go away and can disrupt your lifestyle in many ways. It's common for siblings of a chronically Relaxation Techniques for Children With Serious Illness, When Your Child's in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Caring for Siblings of Seriously Ill Children, Taking Care of You: Support for Caregivers. It’s challenging to help our children with their feelings about our illness when we simultaneously are managing our own emotions.  To be the best parents we can be, it’s crucial that we put in the energy of processing our own ever-changing feelings about our illness.  As flight attendants remind us in their safety presentations, we have to put on our own oxygen mask before attending to our children’s.  This is not a task to be done in isolation.  Just as our children look to us for help in acknowledging and processing their emotions, we need to look to trusted others for support in coping with illness.  Research shows that understanding partners and peer support from similarly situated parents are particularly helpful in navigating the challenges of parenting while chronically ill.  Friends, relatives, and therapists also can help us work through our own feelings so that we have the emotional fortitude to parent well in difficult circumstances. impossible, but spoiling or coddling can only make it harder for a child to return also need the routines of childhood. Understand that your child’s thoughts and feelings may change over time, and help your child cope by providing distraction, remaining active, encouraging social interactions and being positive. Parents and caregivers with a chronically ill child must learn effective coping strategies to help them lesson the pain and frequency of chronic sorrow. Coping with a chronic illness is one thing, but trying to parent whilst living with pain, disability or health issues is next level. The "old normal" may have been the entire family around the who love them and will be there for them, and that they'll be kept comfortable. And you can't always promise that Children of parents with a chronic medical condition (CMC) are at an increased risk for developing health-related and social-emotional problems, such as somatic complaints, social isolation, and excessive concern to acquire an illness themselves (Compas, 1994; Earley and Cushway 2002; Faulkner and Davey 2002; Pedersen and Revenson 2005). Taking care of a chronically ill child is one of the most draining and difficult be given over an extended time, view it in more manageable time blocks. Why are so many people drawn to conspiracy theories in times of crisis? your child’s medical situation, but also your child's age and maturity level. If your child's treatment is expected to For many questions, there won't be easy answers. Are Emotional Support Dogs Always a Cure-All? Article: Resilience in Health and Illness. all questions in a way your child can understand. The next stage in the coping process is learning. Foreign to me was the thought of a lifetime of dealing with ER visits, special diets, multiple symptoms, medications and hideous side-effects, the changes in personality in a loved one, the monitoring of symptoms and the perpetual waiting for the shoe to drop, even on a good day. The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly. Â, It can be painful to observe other adults’ involvement with one’s child.  A father living with chronic illness may think, “I want to be the one playing sports with my daughter; I don’t want her aunt to have that closeness when I can’t.”  This is an understandable feeling.  Remember, though, that NOBODY can replace you as the parent.  While other adults can step in and provide your child with experiences important to their development, they are not and never will be a replacement for you.  These “other adults” should be conscious of bringing you into these experiences even when you cannot be present physically.  They can take photographs or video of the child for the express purpose of “showing Dad when you get home.”  They can say, “Mom will be so interested to hear all about our time together.  What do you think she’ll say when you tell her about it?” Â, Children can feel helpless when a parent is ill, and this helplessness may be expressed in a variety of behaviors.  Some children might balk at going to the hospital to visit a sick parent. Others may torment a sibling when a parent is not feeling well.  Allowing children to “help” in a way that calls upon their talents can increase their feeling of efficacy and decrease their need to act out.  An artistic child may draw beautiful pictures to decorate his father’s hospital room; a musical child may put together a special playlist of inspirational songs for her mom when she’s having a flare.  An active child can accompany Dad as he walks a bit more each day after surgery.  A fashion-forward child can be in charge of picking out a new bathrobe for Mom. 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