10 Tips for Speaking to Your Children about Your Chronic Illness

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create-memoriesWhen you are a parent you protect your children at all costs. You want to protect them from anything that may cause them to hurt physically, emotionally and mentally.  You want to ensure they have a happy, healthy childhood and good memories.  So, it is truly important to be mindful of this and create special moments for your children to have fond memories of reflections later on in their lives.

do-one-thing-every-dayA parent with a chronic illness needs to work extra hard in maintaining their role and relationship in the family.  Not only are you dealing with your chronic condition, you also must lead by example for the good of the family.  If you have children a crucial and extremely important thing to do is finding a way to speak to your children about your condition.  Speaking to your children about your chronic condition may not be the easiest topic to address and it might seem easier to pretend that all is well, however, all is not well so don’t be fooled and avoid addressing the elephant in the room.

resilienceBe aware there will be adverse results for the family if you do not muster up that courage and speak with your children.  Children are resilient and will be empathetic when kept engaged.  They will be supportive and more willing to pitch in and help out knowing you have a chronic condition that’s affecting the family.  Never under estimate the intelligence of teenagers and young adults.  They pay attention even when it appears that they are not.

  1. Speak with your children sooner rather than later

talk-to-your-kidsWhen dealing with children, the unknown can be a very scary thing. Keeping your child in the dark about your health and needs will only add anxiety and behavioural problems down the line. Talk to your children as soon as they start to question why you can’t do something.  It is important that you do not leave them to their own imaginations as they are incredibly creative.

 

  1. parents-talking-with-kidsKeep the talk simple

When conversing with a teenager, you want to keep it plain and simple.  Break down the medical terminology so they understand the issue.  They will have questions.  Be prepared to answer all their questions to the best of your ability.   If the children are younger use smaller words, words they understand and be patient.  Children though young are curious.  They notice changes within the family; they and need to feel safe and secure.

3. engaging-conversation-1 Repeated discussions there will be many

You need to have repeated discussions with the children.  It is important that you understand this maybe the first time you talk to them, but it certainly should not be your last time. You must be open to reopening the discussion of what is happening to you.  They need to know that you are open to them and are kept informed on your condition.  Be prepared as you converse and keep calm when this happens.

  1. engaging-conversation-2Prepare to answer lots of questions

Children are inquisitive, they are curious they like to know what’s going on. Be prepared for a bunch of questions.  Take the time and answer whatever questions they have.  Don’t get frustrated if it feels like you are answering the same question over and over.  They are simply trying to understand how this chronic disease may impact the family and are afraid of what might happen in the face of this new reality.

  1. reassuranceReassurance   

It is extremely important that you reassure your children you will still be there for them, no matter what.  You will continue to do all you can for them and that you need them to keep being you children; you love them and need their love as well.  Let them know that your condition is not their fault.  They need to hear that they are in no way responsible for your disease so to put their minds at ease.

  1. attitude-of-gratitude-1Attitude

When speaking to your children about your illness you want to stay strong for them. You want to keep things light and calm.  Be welcoming and do not visibly show any hurt that may come from questions asked or comments the children make.  Keep in mind that they are trying to understand something huge; something that changes your life and impacts the family.

  1. Don’t stress the children don’t over share

Children should not have to deal with adult issues so be sensitive.  They don’t need in- depth details or hear the devastation that comes from the illness.  Tell them only what they need to know at this point, so do not over share.  Children need to be children.  Give them basic information keeping it simple.

  1. attitude-of-gratitudeMaintain a sense of purpose and appreciation for everything

Be grateful for all the obstacles in your life.  Obstacles can be seen as setbacks and frown upon however, obstacles present themselves for reasons unknown.  Ultimately, as you deal with these obstacles you find strength that enables you to work through your journey.  Always remember where there’s a will there’s a way and through it all that strength adds value to your life.

gibe-thanksReflect on everything in your life for which you are grateful and develop an attitude of gratitude.  Give thanks for whatever happens to you believing that every step you take forward is a step toward achieving something bigger and better than you presently have.

 

change-behaviourYou have the power to change circumstances in your life for better.  It all depends on how you manage your situation.  Let go of the past.  Release the past and free yourself.  Clear your mind – focus on today, move forward.

  1. action-changes-thingsTake positive action

Action changes things.  Do whatever you can to keep your relationships with family and friends strong.  Nothing in life is more important than family support.

A chronic disease does not dictate or define who you are.  Attributes like self image, self esteem, your attitude toward yourself and the world around you in exhibiting responsible behaviour toward others will help to numb your pain and encourage greater accomplishments.

10.  positive-behaviourPositive Thinking

Change negative thoughts and self-criticism to more realistic and positive thoughts. Practice working on yourself from the inside out and build your self esteem; focus on changing your way of thinking before attempting to change circumstances around you.  Adopt a more positive self concept.  Love yourself, change your thoughts to be positive!  Start dreaming and achieving.

be-strongThoughts are powerful and it is only your thoughts that can prevent you from achieving your dreams however, a thought can be changed!

The following ideas and techniques is a process that will change your life

  • Experience a deeper understanding of yourself as to how you got to where you are now and what do you really want?
  • Release anger, resentment, fear, jealousy, doubt, anxiety and depression
  • Feel more empowered. As little successes and good decisions start coming more often, before you know it success is building on success and your self-esteem will soar
  • Take control of your life. Start to think and react consciously, make healthy self-nurturing choices
  • law-of-attractionLearn to love and accept yourself and you will find that you are attracting positive people into your life

With such a powerful set of new beliefs, how could you not succeed at anything you set your mind to?

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