12yr old in denial..!!

Posted on: Thu, 09/12/2002 - 6:45am
Sandy's picture
Joined: 05/27/2002 - 09:00

pMy son within the last 10 months has become in denial about his P.A. He wears his epipen under his shirt so no one will see it. He has to be reminded to tell new friends and teachers. He won't eat peanut products, but he has taken a drink from a water fountain in his class and has taken potato chips, and odd candies from friends. I have told him that is dangerous, but he does not want to appear different to other kids. He has never gone into anaphalactic shock (knock on wood) because of me, but the older he gets the more he wonders to the park with friends, and it scared the hell out of me until he gets home! I have tried getting mad at him. That doesn't work. I've tried being super sweet and explained the consequences, but he just stands there with a blank look on his face as if to say " I don't want to hear this". /p
p What should I do? Does anyone else have this problem? Any suggestions? (He is a 4+ on the Rast test)/p

Posted on: Thu, 09/12/2002 - 7:20am
Going Nuts's picture
Joined: 10/04/2001 - 09:00

How would he respond to a chat with his allergist? Or perhaps FAAN has some literature on dealing with teens? You know, anyone but mom... [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/wink.gif[/img]

Posted on: Thu, 09/12/2002 - 9:05am
Sandy's picture
Joined: 05/27/2002 - 09:00

We have been to the allergist, and he just clams up. He won't even get involved with a discussion group with other children with peanut allergies, he says he doesn't always want to be reminded and it makes him sad.

Posted on: Thu, 09/12/2002 - 10:47am
AJSMAMA's picture
Joined: 06/12/2002 - 09:00

Does everyone at school treat him differently? I am sorry I am just asking questions without offering advice, but my son is only two and you have described my worst fear - that people will treat him differently and he will be consumed by this allergy. I think we all just want to fit in. Maybe you could tell him a story about when you just wanted to fit in as a teenager. I hope this all works out for you.

Posted on: Thu, 09/12/2002 - 11:03pm
Sandy's picture
Joined: 05/27/2002 - 09:00

Jaime, thats exactly what is happening to my son. The kids do treat him differently, and he is overwelmed. Most of the kids are very nice to him, but they look at him "cautiously" with "stares", trying to comprehend and understand the severity of the allergy.
On his hockey team one of the children's brother was eating a peanut butter cup chocolate bar, and my husband had to ban him from the changing room. He then explained again the dangers. The kids had a blank look on their face (with a little fear). Now my son is labled.
Thanks for the story about when I was a teenager. I will try that when I think of something good to say.

Posted on: Fri, 09/13/2002 - 12:45am
river's picture
Joined: 07/15/1999 - 09:00

FAAN does have a special section for teens on their website. But it's not very cool. Your son needs to meet other kids his age who are in the same situation. He's not going to respond well to you as everything in his body is beginning to tell him to push his parents away and find himself a new family. Is there a group at his school or any chat room for PA teens? If he's interested in computers, he may want to set up his own website to meet other kids. I'll bet that's a good way to meet peanut-free girls!
The good news is that #1 he's normal and #2 he's still wearing his epi-pen. (As long as he wears a medic-alert bracelet, I wouldn't fight to keep it uncovered all the time.)
It's tough enough when your child is suddenly beginning to turn into a man or a woman---with a severe allergy on top of that it's extra demanding for parents.

Posted on: Fri, 09/13/2002 - 12:45am
Sarahfran's picture
Joined: 06/08/2000 - 09:00

I think the teenage years must be the hardest time for someone with an allergy like this! Think back to when you were a teenager--the last thing you wanted was to be thought of as *different* in any way, and added to that is the idea that most teenagers have that they are invincible. Lots of teenagers take stupid risks. It's not good, but it is part of growing up and learning to be responsible for yourself.
One thing you might want to do is hand over the responsibility to him. It sounds like he wants to take it. He's on his own more and wanting to be with friends, which is normal, and he's bright enough to always carry his epipen with him, so he's not totally risking his life. I think the best thing to do at this point is tell him that you trust him. Tell him that you know he's aware of his allergies and the dangers associated with it, that the vigilance you taught him has kept him safe up until now, that you love him more than life and worry about him when you aren't around but that you understand his need for more autonomy, so from now on you'll leave things up to him more often--he knows what behaviors are and aren't safe, and you trust him to take care of himself.
Good luck!

Posted on: Fri, 09/13/2002 - 2:37am
Jana R's picture
Joined: 02/09/1999 - 09:00

My son is now 14 - when he was 12 I ordered the 15 minute FAAN video "Food Allergies, Fact or Fiction" - it's designed for teens and really covers teens fears and and shows a couple of very typical teens and how they deal with it. You can tell FAAN tried to make it hip but it's an adult version of what they think teens think is hip >grin< but it still entertaining. He even let me show it to his 7th grade LA/SS class. Good luck!

Posted on: Fri, 09/13/2002 - 5:22am
JMitchell's picture
Joined: 09/13/2002 - 09:00

Sandy: has your son ever met anyone else with this allergy, or is he the only person he knows who actually has it? I don't have children, but I myself have the allergy, and grew up with it since age 1 1/2. If you wouldn't have a problem with it, I'd be happy to answer emails from him about it and what it's like to deal with kids. I'm 30, but I know what it's like to be in 6th grade with this allergy like it was yesterday. Just a thought....feel free to email me if you want to talk about the possibility.
-- Julie

Posted on: Fri, 09/13/2002 - 10:08am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I read your problem with a heavy heart because this is something that I'm sure most of us hope will never happen, but realize that it will to some extent.
This thread reminded me of a situation when I was a teacher. I remember having Hall duty second period at the high school level. I would roam the halls looking for wayward students, and one time encountered "R", a 14- or 15-year old girl, being escorted out of the cafeteria by two other faculty members. She was crying her eyes out and I was thinking, "Oh my gosh, what happened to her! Whatever it was must have been terrible." Well, it was terrible for a young teenager trying to be like everyone else and fitting in, instead of being "different" in some way.
What happened was that she had an epileptic seizure right in the middle of a quiet, second-period studyhall, which had at LEAST 50 students in it (grades 9 - 12). I'm sure she was mortified. The high school was a small one, so everyone probably knew what had happened by the end of the day. The point of telling you this is that this girl had no way of controlling this situation. She had no reason to be embarrassed, but we all know how it is to be a teenager.
Our PA children can, to a large degree, control the risk of coming into contact with the peanut (or other) allergen. If the reactions my son had between the ages of 2 and 3 or last January occurred as a teenager, I'm sure he would be very embarrassed at virtually instantaneous vomiting, abdominal cramping, a state of semi-conciousness, massive red welts/hives, intense/uncontrollable itching, drooling, etc. If food-allergic teenagers could actually see several incidences of someone experiencing anaphylaxis, I'm sure it would be an eye-opening experience, one which they would not want to risk in front of their peers if at all possible.
Perhaps if you could talk to him about what happens during anaphylaxis, maybe it could help. I think most teens would not want their friends to see them experiencing a severe reaction, simply due to the embarrassment factor.
I don't know if this is a help, but I will tell you that the image of that girl being escorted out of studyhall is forever etched in my memory.

Posted on: Fri, 09/13/2002 - 11:09am
Sandy's picture
Joined: 05/27/2002 - 09:00

Thank you everyone for all your responses. I will definitely order the Faan video.
Julie,... their are no kids in his school that are even close to his age with a p.a. I even went to three schools near by and left my name and #, but no one replied. My son doesn't like the internet. It tried that too. I have his name on this site for a support group in my area for over 2 yrs, and no one responded.
Ryan's mom,...good points you said about that he would not want his friends see him if he did go into anaphylactic shock. thanks.
Sarah,...I can't give him more responsibilities. I tried that and he walks out the door without his epipen on! (he doesn't mean to forget it on purpose). I must remind him every day.
River,.. a child or "girl" his age with a p.a. would be fabulous! But they are not around my area. Maybe they are hiding and in denial too! ha ha.

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