As parents, the most important thing is to protect and keep our kids safe. Sadly, there are some things that no matter how hard we try, we can’t protect them from, such as health conditions or illnesses. I’m not talking coughs and colds but illness and health conditions that are a little more serious. A lot of the time, these types of problems can be fixed with medical or surgical treatment. But even so, it can be upsetting to learn that your child is sick or has a serious health problem.
It’s common to go into panic mode when we’re stressed out about something serious, but for your child’s sake, you need to hold it together. Whatever they’ve been diagnosed with, be it a gastrointestinal problem or a tongue tie, it can be upsetting. Especially, if it’s a chronic condition or will require a surgical treatment method.
To help you hold it together and find your child the best help and treatment out there, I’ve put together this guide. Have a read and take the tips on board, and you can make your child’s diagnosis easier to cope with.
See a specialist
Whatever your child has been diagnosed with, be it a serious skin problem or childhood arthritis, you need to see a specialist. This is important as general practitioners haven’t specialized in your child’s condition. This means that they won't have as much knowledge or understanding about it. By asking to see a specialist, you will be able to ensure that your child gets all the best help. Ask them what method of treatment they would recommend and what the chances of success are.
If it’s a surgical procedure your child needs, ask to be referred to a surgeon who’s a specialist in the field, ideally a pediatrician surgeon. The idea of them undergoing surgery may be scary, but if it will help them to get better, it’s worth it. Of course, there are risks that come with surgical procedures, to think about. But if it will improve your child’s quality of life, such as having a tongue tie removed would do, it’s more than worth it.
Do research on your child’s condition or illness
Before consenting to any treatment, it’s always a good idea to research your child’s health condition or illness. The chances are that the doctor will know everything that there is to know about it, but even so, it’s worth doing a little research. Sometimes, there are alternative methods of treatment that doctors don’t think are worth mentioning. However, if you research them, you can discuss them at your child’s next appointment.
Look for forums that discuss it, and talk to parents who have been through what you’re going through. Often, it can help to talk to people who are able to understand what it is that you’re going through. Even if it’s something that can easily be fixed, it’s normal to be worried. So talking to other parents who have been through the same can be a great help.
Manage your stress levels
When a child is diagnosed with a health condition or illness that is more serious than the norm, it’s expected that you’ll feel a lot of pressure. You may feel a mixture of emotions, including stress, anger and sadness, you may also feel resentful. These are all normal feelings to have; you most probably can’t understand why this has happened to your child. Because of this, you may feel resentful towards other families who aren’t having to deal with what you are.
The most important thing is to accept whatever health problem your child has and focus on beating it. This is important as if you don’t focus on what’s wrong with your child, it’s easy to be in denial about it. If you want to help your child to get the best treatment and get back to being in good health, you need to learn to manage the pressure. Find a stress relief method that works for you and that you can use whenever you start to feel like things are spiraling out of control.
Make structure a priority
When a child is unwell, it’s easy to start treating them differently. A lot of parents make the mistake of allowing their child special privileges. Such as an extra chocolate bar for dessert and allowing them to stay up later than normal. You don’t want to get into this habit, as it will only make things worse.
Children need structure, so keeping to your normal routine is important. This is especially true when it comes to bedtime as sleep is the best healer. If your child isn’t getting enough sleep, they won’t get better as quickly. Treat all your children the same; else you’ll end up getting into unhealthy habits. Your child may be unwell, but that doesn’t mean special treatment is needed.
Be a happy, normal family
Leading on from structure, it’s important to keep family life as normal as possible. This can be hard if your child is on bed rest, but it’s still important to try your best. Do the things that you normally do as a family, have days out, spend time with friends, have movie nights - do what you normally do.
You’ll find that life is easier to deal with if you keep it as normal as possible. This is because normality takes away some of the stress and will help to keep you busy. If you spend your time worrying about your child or their upcoming treatment, you’ll only make things worse for yourself. The busier you are with family life, the less stressed out you will feel. This is important as when you’re stressed out; you’ll find that you’ll find dealing with the strains of having a sick child harder.
So there you have it, everything that you need to know about coping when your child develops an illness or health condition. Take the above tips on board and you can make life much easier and less stressful for yourself and your family.