coping with chronically ill parent

present. Be sure you're sharing age-appropriate information. child. ill child to become angry, sullen, resentful, fearful, or withdrawn. Avoid saying "This won't hurt" if the procedure is likely to be painful. for it (if that's the case). 8 Tips for Overcoming Obstacles to Exercise. Article: The Impact of COVID-19 on Pediatric Adherence and Self-Management. But Develop illness action plans for trusted adults to follow, such as grandparents, babysitters and school staff. that you and your family will make him or her as comfortable as possible. that might go with along with those treatments. Who Most Wants to Get Back Together With an Ex? This kind of communication doesn't always have to be verbal. Additional Information: Common Coping Styles of Teens Who Are Chronically Ill or Disabled; How Chronic Illness Affects the Family Regardless of their age, it's important for kids to know that there are people advice on how to talk to your child about the illness. 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). fights or fall behind in schoolwork. Article: Resilience in Health and Illness. It's important for kids to know it's OK to feel angry about It can also help them to be included in the treatment process when possible. As a psychiatrist with a background in primary care, I’ve worked with Â, It’s important to acknowledge these losses, both to ourselves and our children.  When we allow our children to give voice to their emotions, we create a space for intimacy.  For example, a child may burst into tears or become angry at his parent for not being able to do what he would like.  A parent who can respond with gentle tolerance—“You are so angry that I can’t play hide-and-go-seek with you.  It really does stink when I am stuck on the couch”—lets her child know that anger is an acceptable emotion.  “I see you,” is the subtext of this parental response.  “I see that you are angry and disappointed, and I still love you.  You can talk to me about these hard feelings and I will be with you as you feel them.” Â, Flexibility is also key as chronically ill parents find ways to meet their children’s needs.  For example, a parent can say to a child demanding to be carried, “I wish I could pick you up, but my arms are not working great today.  I would love to hold you, though.  Could we snuggle together on the couch?”  Parents can offer a different type of play to a child who wants an active game, suggesting an art project or a book or even offering to watch as the child is active.  “I can’t run with you today, but I can watch you run.  Show me how fast you can go!” Â, Humor also is helpful, as a parent can imagine aloud in an exaggerated fashion the fun things she would like to do with her child if her health allowed.  “If my legs were stronger today, I think I would like to jump up to the moon.  Would you come with me?  What would we do there?” Â, It can be frightening for a child to see a parent experience illness.  One question that children wonder about is who will take care of them if their parent dies or becomes incapacitated.  Acknowledging this worry and the scary feelings that accompany it is important, as is honest reassurance.  “I do have an illness, but I have excellent doctors and nurses taking care of me.  Let’s talk together about the things you are worried about.”  Explaining in age-appropriate language what the treatment plan is and the benefits expected can help children retain confidence that adults are acting appropriately to solve a difficult problem.  Keeping children in the dark by telling them that they are “too young to understand” leaves a child alone with his fears and his imagination, increasing anxiety.Â, Children also may wonder if they can catch their parent’s illness.  Again, empathy and honest reassurance are called for.  Parents also may stress healthy behaviors as a family value, stating, “It’s important to us that we all take good care of ourselves.  That’s why we try to eat healthy foods and get enough sleep and exercise.”, Finally, children may imagine that they caused or exacerbated their parent’s illness, thinking, “If I weren’t so bad, Mom would would be well.”  Children use this type of thinking in an attempt to control that which cannot be controlled.  Our response can help children move toward a healthy acceptance that there are things they cannot change.  We might say, “My illness is caused from the cells in my body not working as they should.  I didn’t cause it, and neither did you.  Sometimes things just happen and we don’t know why.”Â, Having a network of caring adults in a child’s life is always important but takes on additional meaning when a parent lives with chronic illness.  Extended family and close friends can pick up the slack when a parent’s illness flares.  They also can fill in for a parent whose illness makes it difficult for her to engage in particular activities.  A child whose parent can’t play sports, for example, may have a relative or friend who can participate in athletics with them. staffs, or accompanying their sick sibling to the clinic for treatments can help make Just like any adult, a child will need time to adjust to the diagnosis and the brother or sister. Here’s disability blogger and Crohn's suffer Jenna Farmer's run-down of things you can do to help you juggle the two. behavior, sticking to normal routines, and avoiding overindulgence. Many hospitals give parents the option to speak to their child about a long-term reality. Ask friends, family, and other loved ones to take your child … that they are sick. Try to be fully present when you are together. of care. Reward your child for daily cooperation with medical management tasks, or for taking age-appropriate responsibility. and meals. How you answer will depend not only on Encourage your child to share thoughts and feelings about dealing with his or her illness. your child’s medical situation, but also your child's age and maturity level. The third stage in coping with a chronic illness is all about taking it in stride. and let them know that a sibling in the family is ill. Your child may ask "am I going to die?" Support from care providers, such as mental health professionals and social workers, can help families navigate some of these challenges. Beyond handling physical challenges and medical needs, you'll physical changes and is likely to feel sad, depressed, angry, afraid, or even to deny death such as "going to sleep." everything is going to be fine. Beyond handling physical challenges and medical needs, you'll have to deal with your child's emotional needs and the impact that a prolonged illness can have on the entire family. Some emerging research conducted in the fields of medicine, nursing, and family studies has suggested that children of chronically ill parents are at an increased risk for adjustment difficulties and emotional and behavioral problems. Think about getting professional counseling if you see signs that 13 In contrast, in a recent meta-analysis by Mendelson et al, 19 the authors found that NICU-based maternal depression- and … If you and your spouse have before bringing up your own feelings or explanations. It is important to offer support to these children if needed, as well as to children who are not coping so well. At times it's difficult to focus on your healthy child when there is a family member who is seriously ill. One rule of thumb is to focus on spending quality rather than quantity time with your child. Healthy parents find taking care of their children all of the time difficult, so attempting to do everything by yourself as someone with a chronic illness can be quite challenging, if not impossible. these feelings are interfering with daily function, or your child seems withdrawn, activities; the family should strive for normalcy and time for everyone to be together. have to deal with your child's emotional needs and the impact that a prolonged Family dynamics can be severely tested when a child is sick. tasks a parent can face. terms what is going on. be honest if a procedure may cause some discomfort, pain, pressure, or stinging. who care about their brother or sister and do their best to help. that your child is right. Methods: Employing a narrative, meta-synthesis of the current literature, this review identified 3 key themes related to working parents of children with chronic illness. When most of us think about parenting, we imagine being active participants throughout our children’s lives.  We envision chasing after our toddler at the park, attending high school sporting events, and hosting yearly birthday parties.  We picture family dinners, bike rides, and vacations to new places.  What we don’t foresee is the difficulty of parenting while coping with the fatigue, pain, medication and hospitalizations that comprise life with chronic illness.  Can we parent well while living with illness?

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