Advice regarding pre-teens

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My daughter is almost 11 and I feel like we are heading into a new stage. A few questions for those parents who have passed through the pre-teen years: -at what age have you taught your child to use an epi pen on themselves? -at what age have you given them the responsibility of reading labels and making a call if something is ok to eat? -at what age have you felt comfortable leaving them alone at home for short periods of time, knowing that God forbid they had a reaction, they would need to deal with it on their own? As we all know, each age brings with it new challenges and I;m just gearing up for this next stage. Thanks in advance for your thoughts.

On Nov 22, 2002

My 12 1/2 year old learned on a grapefruit with an expired epi-pen how to give it. She has come with me to the grocery store and we check together. I am not really comfortable with her handling packages from a plant that has nuts so I hold the box and she checks. She has taken the babysitting course and now stays at home alone on occasions. We do not allow even "may contains" in our house so I feel comfortable that she will not have a reaction at home. Today was a big step for me- I let her go to the movies with friends. When we got there all the girls were standing with drinks but would not buy popcorn until I came and said it was OK. I was so proud of these girls! She loved the movie (Harry Potter #2) and had a great time with her friends. Keep open communication with her and talk about kissing boys even though you might think she is too young. We have talked about how a boy will really have to like her alot to give up eating nuts/peanuts. Good luck!

------------------ Karalot

On Nov 22, 2002

Interesting thread...my daughter is almost eight and I was already thinking about these things. I have to mention that she had a reaction from something that was not properly labeled, so please don`t assume that not allowing may contains in your home means your child will never have a reaction at home. My daughter had a reaction with a product whose stated ingredients were fine; it was only when I called the company after the reaction that I found out about the improper labeling. It was a may contain and not stated, as the law doesn`t require that may contains state that they are may contains. Also, I am on FAAN`s list of food allergy recalls, and I get at least five a month of foods that are mislabeled. The most recent is the Girl Scout Chocolate Covered Raisins that accidentally got Chocolate Covered Peanuts mixed in. Had a person not known, the child could have eaten it, and even if they realized it was a peanut and spit it out, could very easily have a reaction. My daughter doesn`t know what a peanut tastes like, as she has never had one, so if she ate a mislabeled product like this one, I`m not sure she would even know. About the kissing, my daughter is allergic to milk, eggs, and peanuts. I wonder how people handle that, you can`t really ask a boyfriend to give up milk, eggs, and peanuts, or his nutritional status would be at risk (see other thread about nutritional deficiencies in people with multiple food allergies). I can only hope that by the time she is dating, there will be some sort of a cure.

On Nov 23, 2002

Thanks for these comments back. KarenT-that is a big step with the movies. So, you had her carry the epi pen with her? One of my challenges is PJ parties....so far I have just sent my daughter with her own food (she is allergic to peanuts and soy) but it is hard. I worry about being so "different" coming into this age group. I remember how cruel teenage girls can be.

On Nov 26, 2002

My DD is also 12 1/2 and more and more independant. She reads the labels on food products, she knows to look for where the product is manufactured. She gives the product to me to doublecheck. In restaurants, she asks the questions, and if I don't like the answers she gets, I help her out with details.

She knows how to use an epi-pen. Whenever we have expired ones she practices on an orange/grapefruit.

She's been to sleepovers and movies with friends, but usually we're in the same theatre complex, but not watching the same movie.

It's such a high-risk time, I think, this pre-teen time. However, she already has made comments to me about dating and teen parties. And how she'll know a boy really likes her if he's willing to give up nuts/peanuts and about how not drinking or using drugs will be especially important to her because she has to be alert all the time.

I'm actually thinking about asking the parents of a couple of closest friends if they would be willing to have me show their kids how to use an epipen too - I went Christmas shopping with 2 of them on Saturday - they were at one end of the mall and I was at the other and I worried the whole time!

Very stressfull! Feel free to email me off the list if you like. Linda

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