When you receive your diagnosis, the first people you tell are likely your close family and friends — the people you interact with on a day-to-day basis. But telling your kids requires a different set of strategies. Read on to learn how to talk to your children about your chronic illness.
#1: Deliver Age-Appropriate Information
Perhaps the most important piece of advice for talking to your children about chronic illness is to consider their age and what they can handle hearing. What you tell a teenager will likely be very different than what you tell a 3-year-old.
#2: Be Honest About What You’re Going Through
Again, you’ll want to stick to age-appropriate information, but you should let them know that sometimes you might not feel well. That might mean telling them you get tummy aches sometimes, or that your hands or feet might hurt (“ouchies you can’t see”), or that sometimes you might be so tired you can’t get up.
#3: Tell Them What You Need From Them
Let your children know what you need from them when you’re going through a flare-up. Tell them before it happens so the expectations are set. Whether it’s simply quiet behavior from little ones or help with household tasks from older kids, tell them how they can help you.
#4: Let Them Ask Questions — Or Not
Children are very curious creatures, but typically on their own schedule. When you deliver the news, you should be prepared for a conversation, but you should also know that they may hear what you have to say, nod, and then head right back to their train set or TV show.
#5: Keep the Conversation Going
Let them know that the door is always open for them to ask you questions, but don’t pressure them into hearing more than they’re ready for. You too needed time to process the information, and your kids might as well.
The attention span of children and their ability to process everything varies by age and individual child. Give them time, but, at the same time, don’t sweep the issue under the carpet either. If your chronic illness is going to affect their way of life, they especially need to know and eventually accept what the new normal looks like. It’s a process, but make sure there’s progress too.
#6: Take the Optimistic View
The last thing you want to do is scare your kids, so let them know that, while you may sometimes not feel well, you’ll always feel better after a while. (This can be a good reminder and mantra for yourself as well!) Tell them you’re working with your doctor to get healthier and feel better (and follow through). And giving them ways to help you can help them feel like they’re a part of the team.
IV Treatments for Chronic Illness at Infusion Express
If IV infusions are a part of your treatment plan for lupus, know that you have options. Infusion Express offers the best of all options when it comes to receiving treatment, all the way from comfort through cost.
We understand the demands of a busy schedule, so we offer appointments during days, evenings and on Saturdays at three convenient locations on either side of the state line in Kansas City (MO), Independence and Overland Park. If you’re ready to experience the difference Infusion Express can make in your life, give us a call at any of our locations.