Husband won't take our daughter's allergy seriously!

My daughter has multiple life threatening food allergies, has since birth. We don't eat peanut butter or nuts in our house, to keep it safe for her. My husband decided to eat a peanut butter candy bar tonight in our house right in front of our daughter. I was livid! I immediately took my daughter out of the room and kept them separated the rest of the night. But he said that I was "overreacting" and that I "needed to relax".

I am always fighting with the school to keep her safe, and the last thing I need is to have to fight with him. I don't know what to do anymore. He doesn't take her allergies seriously, despite her having gone into anaphylaxis shock twice. (Both of those were from coming into contact with the allergens, not actually eating them). Any advice would be appreciated on how to proceed from here.

By survivingfood on Thu, 09-12-13, 02:05

I am so sorry for your LO and her reactions, poor baby.
Here is another possibility. From the psychological perspective, husbands worry more about spouse and mothers more about children.
It is also possible that your husband might be doing this because he is secretly really afraid for your daughter and this is his way of dealing with this. "See I ate this bar and she was OK, you need to relax, she will be OK, she will grow out of this." Some people when faced with life altering and extremely stressful situations react this way. He could also be stuck in the denial stage of grieving. Whatever the reason i wold encourage a counseling session to get to the bottom of it. Dealing with life threatening food allergies is emotionally exhausting, life changing and you do need a safe environment for your LO. A home should be that.

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By SMT on Sat, 08-31-13, 23:36

I feel for you. I had a similar incident years ago when my son was very young. I was livid but while I initially didn't say anything, my husband knew I was angry and I blew. I exploded on him. He realized immediately he was wrong and apologized. It never happened again.
I agree that you perhaps need to make him understand how dangerous it can be if by chance your child is exposed or accidentally ingests through even cross contamination.
Take him with you to the allergist and have the allergist explain it to him.
Good luck to you. I have been doing this with my child since he's a baby & now he's a teenager.

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By Willishm25 on Tue, 08-27-13, 02:55

I feel for you, me and my husband herero all of our nut products at work far away from Lil man and we brush our teeth before we see him in the afternoons after work. We have both experienced my sonsallergy first hand so we are aware that it is not something to play with we realize that there is no way we can eat any type of nut products due to how severe his allergy is. We also realized that each episode he has will always increase to get worse and all it takes is one silly mishap for that precious life to be taken from us which unfortunately happens all to often in the usa, that can be prevented very easily with simple steps from caring adults. If that doesn't work then simply remind him that if he doesn't straighten up he can get in trouble as being seen as a negligent parent with putting his child in hands way. Sometimes ask it takes is to remind then they are a parent and they are held responsible for this Childs life whether they realize it or not. Good luck, I know its a hard road sometimes, but its your job as a parent to protect you're child from harm any way possible.

By digitalsam on Mon, 08-26-13, 16:50

Dealing with a severe allergy is stressful under the best of circumstances. My son is/was hyper sensitive to peanuts. We spent many evenings in the E.R. And I understand the anger that boils up when you or your spouse make a mistake. When my son was three, we were on a car trip, 200 miles from nowhere and my wife gave him gummy snacks that "might contain" peanuts. I was furious... until I realized that I had missed the label when I purchased the snacks. Oops.

This sounds like a different issue than an allergy. You seem to have a power struggle going on. You and your husband obviously do not agree on what is safe. Yelling at him is only going to harden the concrete and separate you and he. Either you and your husband have not taken the time to come to an agreement on how to deal with this allergy, your husband does not feel the allergy is as serious as you do, or you are over reacting and your husband is under reacting, it could be any of those and a dozen more. This sounds like a martial issue that is surfacing because of the allergy and not just an allergy issue. I would consider seeking the help of a marital counselor and maybe also schedule a visit together with your allergist (without your kids) to discuss how severe the allergy is and come up with a plan that you both can live with. You need to be united and the only way that will happen is if your marriage is strong. Joint custody is the other option and you have less control in a divorce situation than you do now. Fix the rift.

As a side note, we drove my son 1000 miles a week to Dr. Sam Foster where he underwent desensitization treatment once a week for 25 weeks. It was a burden financially and emotionally, but in the end, it was worth a change in lifestyle to know that my son can go on band trips without fear of dying. He started off reacting severely to a microscopic dose (1/8000th of a peanut) and then Last night, he ate three peanut butter cookies and ten full peanuts without any reaction. There are options that don't involve isolation and fear.

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By ddepace65 on Sun, 08-25-13, 16:58

I to have a son with a peanut allergy. He was lucky enough to out grow his tree nut allergy around the age of 16. I want to comment on the person who said they taught there child how to live in a "peanut world". We also did the same thing. Our son is now turning 19 and in his second year of collage. He lives at school and has 3 room mates. We taught him how to be safe and how to speak to friends and others about his allergy. In our house we did not typically have any nut products. This was the place he did not have to worry, that could been our worry to keep him safe. With that said I think your husband was a bit thoughtless in his actions. There were many times my husband and I went through the same thing. Just ask him which is more important kissing his daughter goodnight or peanuts? You were not over reacting:)

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By AllergyInformation3 on Sun, 08-25-13, 16:37

I regret that I your husband seems to have some form of willful ignorance about her life threatening condition. Have you thought about or contacted your division of family services? It seems to me like a hotline call, especially of it is a peanut dust allergy where any amount could trigger a life threatening reaction. This may create discord in your marriage but it may save your child's life. Since he already isn't listening to you, better to get help from the community resources to help get him to stop putting her in danger. You could also report it a social worker in another organization like a hospital or a school. Maybe he will listen to them? Just my thoughts on the matter - especially because he has already had two episodes of anaphylaxis. Just wanted to share this option with you. If it was anyone other than her father, they would seem like a bully, and you would need to report it to someone who can do something about it, right? Parents should be held accountable too.

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By PeanutAllergy.com on Fri, 08-23-13, 17:01

Question of the Week: Answered!
Every week, PeanutAllergy.com will be answering one of the questions posted on our community page.
Our Answer:

Dear PAMom22,

It is very frustrating that your husband refuses to take your child's allergies seriously. When it comes to food allergies, education is key. You don't want your daughter to have a life-threatening reaction for him to finally realize just how serious food allergies can be.

Show him videos and news articles about children who have died from a severe allergic reaction. Recently 13-year-old Natalie Giorgi died after eating a rice krispy treat containing traces of peanuts. Even after being given 3 EpiPens, the allergic reaction took her life. You can share the video with him and perhaps it will change his behavior. Click this link to watch the video: http://www.peanutallergy.com/videos/peanut-allergy/girl-dies-from-allergic-reaction-to-peanuts-video

You could also consider bringing him with you to an allergist or another health care provider, who can better explain the severity of your child's food allergies to him. You mentioned that he feels you are overreacting, so getting advice from a medical professional may help change his opinions and let him see that you are not overreacting in any way. Best of luck!

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By Yael Kozar on Tue, 08-20-13, 20:33

Been there and when my daughter had 4 reactions in one bite and 2 months in and out of hospitals including exploratory surgery from one bite of food my husband ordered and the chef didn't make the food safe-well Hubby was the one that said WHY IS ALL THIS HAPPENING TO HER after 5 years of being the "overreacting" parent. Hate to say it but no one questions me know as everyone believes she has one the worst peanut allergy levels for Ige mediated anaphylaxis. You are right to question this because he is setting her up not to trust DADDY. This is horrible for a child on every level.

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By JoelJacobson on Tue, 08-20-13, 18:18

Your husband's attitude is shocking but not surprising, I have seen it over and over. You did the right thing keeping them separated. Until a kid is old enough to protect themselves, who else will protect them but their parents. You might tell your husband to leave the house and not come near your daughter for a day or so after he eats peanuts. He could stay in a hotel and take a shower and put on clean clothes before he comes home.

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By susiemc on Tue, 08-20-13, 17:17

I encourage you and your husband to adopt practices that are the best choices for you and your family. Be open to them changing as your daughter gets older. I do agree with teaching your daughter how to deal with her allergies according to her age. I can understand your anxiety! Trust me I have two children with multiple food allergies and have had to keep my sense of loss of control in check. Do what your comfortable doing but really get in touch with how you want to help your daughter "live with" such vigilance in a way that she feels "normal". All kids want to "fit in". If your house is the only place you feel you can keep safe then have that protocol that "no nuts allowed in the home". That may change over time as your daughter gets older or it may not. I am sure your husband would never want to cause your daughter harm.....with that said he needs to be on board with the practices you both choose.
Good luck....and stay calm!
Susie

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