It can be difficult to talk to your family and friends about your chronic illness, but talking to your children takes an even more careful approach. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with a chronic illness, use these strategies to talk to your children about it.
Consider Their Ages
The conversation you have with a 17-year-old child is going to be very different than the one you have with a four-year-old. While a teenager may be able to handle a similar conversation as you’d have with a full-fledged adult, even a preteen may need some sheltering. You know your kid best, so consider what they can understand and what they can handle, and try to frame the conversation in age-appropriate terms.
For instance, a teenager might understand the symptom of fatigue with no further explanation, but you might have to try a different tactic with a five-year-old. Feeling sleepy is something they might understand. Additionally, comparing fatigue to how they feel after running the soccer field for an hour might be a good option.
Make it a Need to Know Basis
The truth is, your kids probably don’t need to know every single detail of your illness. They need to know the stuff that’s going to affect them. If you’re going to have days where you can’t pick them up, or run around outside with them, they need to understand that it’s because of your chronic illness and not just because you don’t feel like it. Put an emphasis on making sure they feel loved, and you’ll be on the right track.
Let Them Lead the Conversation
Giving your kids free reign to ask questions is a good way to let them lead the conversation into territory with which they’re comfortable. If you’re unsure of where to go after you’ve given them the basics, encourage them to ask about what they’re curious about is a great way to pinpoint what they need to understand.
Get Them On Your Team
Little kids especially love to help. If you’ve ever met a three-year-old, you’re probably well acquainted with hearing “I can do it by myself!” Use this sense of independence to your advantage! Give your kids ways that they can help you when you’re dealing with flare-ups.
Similarly, even though your preteens and teens may balk at doing typical chores, they’re very likely to rise to the occasion to help you with your health condition. Focus on making them feel appreciated and valued — like an adult. And remember, teens often appreciate having their growing independence acknowledged, so, if you’re comfortable with it, consider allowing them some freedoms as a reward and acknowledgment for the responsibilities they take on.
IV Treatment at Infusion Express
If IV infusions are a part of your treatment for chronic illness, check out Infusion Express. We offer appointments that fit your schedule (days, evenings and weekends) in a spa-like environment custom-designed to help you actually enjoy your time while receiving treatment. It’s the perfect place to enjoy some time to yourself or give the relaxation response method a try!
If you’re ready to experience the difference, give us a call at either of our two convenient locations in Lee’s Summit at 816-272-0174 or Overland Park at 913-948-2020. We look forward to helping you live a healthier, more satisfying life in 2015.