Chronic Illness and Relationships Part II: Caring for Children

While I have a Master’s in Elementary Education, I am far from an expert in childcare.  First off, I have chosen to work with adults and secondly I am not a mother.  I have no plans of becoming a mother (which I will discuss more in another blog post), but I will summarize what the article (which I will add a link to tomorrow) says about caring for children when you have a chronic illness and also what to do when you are caring for a child with chronic illness.

Some days – many days – I don’t have enough energy to pull myself out of bed.  I can’t even imagine how hard it must be to take care of a child while not feeling well.

1. Don’t let guilt feelings consume you. Do what you can for your children. Don’t overextend yourself.  It won’t benefit them if you push to hard to do something and then are out even longer.  Ask for help caring for your children if necessary from people who understand your situation (i.e. your spouse, family, close friends)

2. Don’t explain too much.  If your children are young, the more you explain the more worried they may become.  If they are very young, they may worry that you are going to die. Reassure them that you will not.  You can explain more to older children and ask if they want to help.  Don’t depend on them to care for you.  Your child needs to feel they have some way of controlling the situation but at the same time they shouldn’t feel they are responsible for you.

3. Show your children a great deal of love.  Communicate emotionally and verbally.  Rely on your abilities to connect with your child.  This will keep the bond between you and your child strong and also normalize things.  Your child may be angry at your for being sick at first.  Still communicate and connect with them.

Now what if the roles are reverse and your child is the one that is sick or you and your child have the same illness.

1. Don’t blame yourself.  It will only complicate things and doesn’t help.
2. Become your child’s advocate – especially with regards to school and disabilities.  If your child is entitled to disabilities, make sure they get the services they need and are entitled to.
3. Don’t hold your child to previous standards in some regards.  The article says to not hold them to previous standards but some people have said that they are so strong with their illness because their parents didn’t lower standards for them.  But do what is best for your child overall.  Show forgiveness when they can’t reach a goal.
4. Don’t let your child see you are worried about their illness.  Try to be their rock in a stormy sea as much as possible.  If you can’t, consider drawing on your resources for help (i.e. spouse, family, close friends, professionals.)

Tomorrow Part 3 is about having a relationship with your doctors which if you suffer from chronic illness you know is one of the most difficult relationships you will ever have with someone you don’t know very well.

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One thought on “Chronic Illness and Relationships Part II: Caring for Children

  1. I’m a nanny and some days I am dragging. Kids definitely pick up on energy too so lately I’ve been making sure I’m happy and positive. This summer was tough on me and I think the kids picked up on my negative energy!

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