How do you MAKE family \"get it\"???

Posted on: Sun, 02/25/2007 - 3:04pm
brown1442's picture
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Anyone else really struggling with making the rest of their family understand?? OMG my husbands family is driving me NUTS!! I just can not get them to take my 21 month old son's food allergies seriously. No one else in the family has any food allergies but still... this is RIDICULOUS!! He's got peanut and tree nut allergies (and other food allergies too) and what does my mother in law give him for valentines day?? A container filled with M&Ms and hershey's kissed filled with PEANUT butter!!!!!! OMG I could have flipping kicked her!! This is after I've flipped at recent family get togethers when they had Buckeye's (chocolate and peanut butters) in his reach!!!!

So then today we are talking about birthday cakes and I told her he CAN NOT eat her cakes (he has the vanilla allergy too) and she keeps insisting that is okay if there is a just a little bit of the allergen in there. UM NO!!! She will NOT listen to me and its pi$$ing me off.

Please tell me I am not the only one??? How do you deal??

Posted on: Sun, 02/25/2007 - 10:03pm
PA-Mom's picture
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I know exactly how you are feeling. Been there. My child received her share of snickers, etc from in-laws too. What helped them stop giving my child allergens is I call before holidays and give them names of candy she can have and I've requested not giving candy as gifts when possible They tell me "unless you are living it, you just cant be expected to remember (my family and friends remember)". So, I call and remind them of the allergy, "there is no cure... strict elminiation is key" ask what is on the menu before each holiday/party/etc. I explain the severity of the allergy over and over again. I also confirm that if they want to eat peanuts, nuts etc, we will be happy to leave and then they can have it. I always bring my own cake/kid friendly dessert for my child to enjoy and share. Once my sister-in-law had cookie decorations made for each kid (knowing my child could not have it). So I made my own version for my child and it turns out mine were a bigger hit! As your child gets older you will think of more you can do that works for you and your family.

Posted on: Sun, 02/25/2007 - 11:22pm
chanda4's picture
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How do I make them get it...I don't and never will! I try as I amay, I email info, links articles...I share my trials with the school, letters to our local paper....and they still turn around and make me want to pull out my hair. He is MY son and always will be, he is MY responsibility and I will have to remind his family EVERY time. As much as I hate it, I've come to accept it. HUGS, sorry!
------------------
Chanda(mother of 4)
Sidney-8 (beef and chocolate, grasses, molds, weeds, guinea pig & asthma)
Jake-6 (peanut, all tree nuts, eggs, trees, grasses, weeds, molds, cats, dogs, guinea pig & eczema & asthma)
Carson-3 1/2 (milk, soy, egg, beef and pork, cats, dog, guinea pig and EE)
Savannah-1 (milk and egg)

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 12:34am
turtle's picture
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I don't think you can make them get it either. A few comments I have used are "would you like to be calling 911 and rushing your grandson to the hospital today?" Or "a tiny bit of peanut butter is like poison to him and could kill him. Do you want me to smear just a tiny bit of rat poison on your food and see if you get sick or die?"
Hang in there. It is really difficult to deal with people, but you are doing what you have to to protect your child.

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 12:35am
Lori Anne's picture
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Sometimes it takes a while. Do what you need to do regardless of what your relatives think. Sometimes relatives come around and then "get it". Let's hope yours do.
I sent this article out to my relatives in the beginning:
[url="http://www.cspinet.org/nah/04_01/index.html"]http://www.cspinet.org/nah/04_01/index.html[/url]
It was helpful. Some really got it after that.
Recently, someone posted about this video. Looks like a good one to me:
[url="http://www.foodallergyproject.org/videopage4.html"]http://www.foodallergyproject.org/videopage4.html[/url]
Those might help. What clinched it for us was a letter from the doctor. We needed one to carry an epipen into a concert hall. (We were going to see the Wiggles)
The doctor wrote "potentially fatal reaction" in that letter. Those words shocked some of my family members. It was more meaningful to them because it wasn't an article that could be about just anyone. This was a letter written only for my daughter and it was on a physician's stationery.
We stuck the note on my mother's refrigerator (after we used it at the concert) so relatives could see it. It truly helped.
That very same note helped explain her allergy to the school too.
Good luck. Hope this helps.
[This message has been edited by Lori Anne (edited February 26, 2007).]

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 1:00am
NicoleinNH's picture
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POOF
[This message has been edited by NicoleinNH (edited June 10, 2007).]

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 1:42am
k9ruby's picture
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I'm 15 and my Dads parents dint get it at first either. Even though they were THERE when i had my first, ANAPHYLACTIC reaction, they still stuffed a whole bowl of walnuts into my x mas stocking. Now they get it and never get me anything else but kinnerton.

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 3:24am
gvmom's picture
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[b]Anyone else really struggling with making the rest of their family understand?? [/b]
We used to. Now we don't. We learned that you can't make people do what they don't want to.
In our lives that has meant that after years of trying, hoping people would want to because they "loved" our children, we stopped. We stopped trying to figure out what other piece of information we could hand out to make family understand -- or want to care. We stopped going to things. We stopped allowing food from anyone -- and I mean anyone -- in our home. If anyone brought something we either told them to take it back out to their car, put it on top of the refrigerator so they could take it back home with them (and them knowing that was what was going to happen), or leaving something in it's container & not serving it and throwing it in the trash when they left(DH's parents consistently brought pies over for awhile from someplace -- so I wouldn't even open the box when they were over and tossed the entire thing when they would walk out the door). And really, as of now, we really have stopped having things at our home with family because it is just too hard to feel like we want to be around people who after 6 1/2 years of this still don't even remember, half the time, that our children food allergies.
To me, I don't see how people can care if they don't care to remember about something that could kill your child. And really, if they want to hand my child something that could kill them, I'm not going to care about them getting offended when I toss whatever it is in the trash, or I don't go to something at their home, or whatever else could put their nose out of joint. There isn't an equitable trade when it comes to the lives of my children.

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 3:36am
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So sorry to hear this, but god, this is just so typical. It sounds as if your MIL is more stubborn than others. Most just don't understand and need to be educated. She sounds like she will need more than this.
First, purchase her the Peanut Allergy Answer Book and have it sent to her house. It is easy to read and written a physician, so perhaps she will take his word over yours.
[url="http://www.amazon.com/Peanut-Allergy-Answer-Book/dp/1931412588/sr=8-1/qid=1172514796/ref=sr_1_1/102-5881148-3287322?ie=UTF8&s=books"]http://www.amazon.com/Peanut-Allergy-Ans...ie=UTF8&s=books[/url]
I know that this will not solve all of the answers since you are dealing with multiple food allergies, but the principal is the same. An exposure is an exposure and it doesn't make a difference if it is "a little".
Secondly, get your hubby to back you 110% percent and have him reinforce everything you do and say. You need to be a team on this.
Thirdly, if she still refuses to believe or budge in her thoughts then you will have to limit your time with her and never leave your child alone with her.
Only after she is on the same page as you, would I teach her how to use an Epi pen and allow visits without you.

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 4:09am
Live4Him's picture
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This is what we did. We got severel brochures or pamphlets, whatever you want to call them) from my sons allergist and gave them to the ones who didn't understand the seriousness of food allergy. I also got a video that shows about ana reations and one that shows how to use the twin jet and the other meds you need to carry in the pack with it. Watch it with people that your child is around alot. One point that was made very clear in the video is that your food allergic child should NEVER eat alone, even if they have their epi with them because they can get scared, panic and forget how to use it. My son is going back in in 2 weeks for a RAST test for all nuts since he has been reaction free for 11 years. If it shows nothing then we are going into the ICU for a challenge! Scary but excited at the same time.
------------------
Isaiah 53:5

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 4:22am
lilpig99's picture
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Sometimes families just stink. They can be so uneducated about the realities facing our children. They do not see that many, many more children are dealing with food allergies these days. Sadly, many of us cannot trust our own extended families. When we visit them so infrequently, they just aren't faced with it very often and tend to be fairly laid back about it. It's 'in our faces' every day, but not theirs. Some families deny the allergy, some completely understand, yet sometimes their attempts at safety are just not 'good enough'. There's little room for error with severe food allergy...we need 100% safety, not 90%.
I honestly think you have to lead that horse to water, but realize you can't make 'em drink. Give them the info you can, lay it aaaaallllllll out there, even print off the photos of the children who have died from allergy and show them, and what they do with it is what they do with it. You cannot be responsible for what others choose to believe no matter how [i]horribly[/i] frustrating it is. Keep the focus on your child, not your [i]desire[/i] to please others or have things run smoothly (even though you [i]do[/i] want things that way). Your first responsibility is your child and keeping them safe obviously. Your MIL/family cannot be trusted right now, it's just the way it is. You need to lay down the law, make no apologies, make no elaborate excuses. Your consistency is key to having them [i]realize[/i] that you take this allergy seriously and you [i]expect[/i] them to do so as well. I would think it will become obvious to you when your family willingly chooses to understand and believe, their attitudes as well as their actions will clearly change. Be prepared to wait, it may take a veeeerrrryy long time.
You are not alone....hugs.

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 5:09am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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[b]How do you MAKE family get it?????[/b]
[i]You[/i] don't.
End of story. There is no amount of educating sufficient to do the job with some people. We meet them all the time, right?? Now, I don't know about you, but I have on occasion cringed and thought, [i]GGA, That person is just awful.... I can tell that THEY don't have anyone in their family with a PA....."[/i]
Well, guess what?? They're [i]somebody's[/i] relatives, aren't they???? Heheheh.
My point? There's family members who "don't get it" and then there's "[b]won't[/b] get it." Not the same thing.... don't teach pigs to sing, in other words. It is a waste of your time, and it annoys the pigs. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/tongue.gif[/img]
(So yeah, what gvmom said.)
Know when to cut your losses.

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 5:29am
Lori Anne's picture
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I agree that you can't "make" people get it, but I do think it can't hurt to try if you haven't tried giving them articles and info.
It worked with some of my family members, so I do believe it could work for others.
If they still aren't seeing your point after trying to show them articles, books, etc, well that's a different story.
I wish you the best of luck.

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 5:35am
NoPeanutsPlease.com's picture
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We're two months into peanut parentdom and so far have not really encountered any firm resistance. Our friends and family have been very supportive. They definitely need reminding and should not be relied upon to remember on their own. I think we as parents own the role of reminding people before they come to the house that peanuts cannot enter.
We have had a couple of cases where babysitters said that they would be halfway to the store, etc. and realize that they forgot our daughters EpiPens. Because they were 'half-way' they did not return. We firmly told them that if this happened again it would result in immediate termination.
I think that if I encountered family who consistently pushed the envelope in the ways outlined above, they would simply see a sharp reduction in the time they spent with our daughter. I would hate to do that but safety has to come first.
NP.
------------------
[url="http://www.NoPeanutsPlease.com"]www.NoPeanutsPlease.com[/url]

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 7:33am
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Quote:Originally posted by PA-Mom:
[b]I know exactly how you are feeling. Been there. My child received her share of snickers, etc from in-laws too. What helped them stop giving my child allergens is I call before holidays and give them names of candy she can have and I've requested not giving candy as gifts when possible They tell me "unless you are living it, you just cant be expected to remember (my family and friends remember)". So, I call and remind them of the allergy, "there is no cure... strict elminiation is key" ask what is on the menu before each holiday/party/etc. I explain the severity of the allergy over and over again. I also confirm that if they want to eat peanuts, nuts etc, we will be happy to leave and then they can have it. I always bring my own cake/kid friendly dessert for my child to enjoy and share. Once my sister-in-law had cookie decorations made for each kid (knowing my child could not have it). So I made my own version for my child and it turns out mine were a bigger hit! As your child gets older you will think of more you can do that works for you and your family.[/b]
Could you send me the recipe? I'm actually looking for cookie recipe right now to send to a church event for the kids in our ward with allergies.

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 7:51am
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(edited)
As a current outsider I think this is a great post! My SIL didn't really do anything to make me "get it". I came here one day and started reading all of you guys' stories and posts. I started reading on FAAN's site and reading about the kids who died. It suddenly hit me that my nephew could die.
Suddenly my SIL didn't seem overprotective - now I feel like I'm the one who is nuts and way overprotective of my nephew. Obsessivly cleaning before he comes over and making sure NOTHING is within reach (even in the freezer and fridge - he can't even open the doors yet!). Our MIL is the same way, I don't know my SIL got her on board, but she's amazing too - creating full meals completly friendly for DN's allergies. It's amazing.
I was with my in-laws last night and discussing how frustrating FAs have become for me. I've become an advocate for Food Allergies in general within my religious community and trying to create an awareness and small changes and the resistance is crazy! If you find a way to make people "get it" please share!
In the meantime, I agree with all the posters - if the MIL doesn't "get it" - cut her out of your child's life until she does. It sounds cold but really, your child is much more important. I don't know why people can't seem to understand the very seriousness and PERMANENT effect of food allergy reactions but for some reason they just think they know better - keep your child safe.
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[url="http://charity-never-faileth.com/Food_Allergies_-__As_I_have.html"]Amanda Hommel[/url]
-seek learning, even by study and also by faith-

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 8:27am
BriandBrinasmom's picture
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Baseball bat?
Seriously, we've found that these situations are an excellent opportunity to teach. My son knows not everyone will support him in his allergies and that he has to be responsible for himself. If the food is unsafe, we bring food. If the situation is unsafe, we leave. We never cede responsibility to others, even family.
I don't believe in cutting relatives out of one's life simply because they're ignorant. If I did, my children would grow up without family. ;o)

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 2:36pm
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TY (edited)! I just suddenly realised that it may have sounded like my MIL is one of the bad ones... which couldn't be further from the truth... (because I forgot to type a word). Anyways, our MIL is amazing in a GOOD way. She prepared DN a meal for his allergies so he could feel included at Christmas. It was so amazing and heartwarming. She's so great. [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Anyways, it kills me too that people CHOOSE to not get it. It's eating me up inside and I don't even have a FA child - although I should probably share we are currently having our youngest tested for TNA, PA, and Berries. We are not convinced that she has any but better safe than sorry - you know? However, it doesn't stop me from advocating the cause because it's something people NEED to know about and when they choose to not get it it just ticks me off and I don't know how to deal with it.
They are not "bad" people for not getting it but after the fiftieth person who has the same objections and to me just seems lazy and willingly ignorant I just want to scream and break something. Is this normal? I don't know what I'll do if Anya (DD - 2 yrs in April) has a TNA, PA, or Berry Allergy. Does this ever stop? Does the anger ever go away?
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[url="http://charity-never-faileth.com/Food_Allergies_-__As_I_have.html"]Amanda Hommel[/url]
-seek learning, even by study and also by faith-
[This message has been edited by AuntAmanda (edited February 27, 2007).]

Posted on: Mon, 02/26/2007 - 9:47pm
cam's picture
cam
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We had our entire immediate family meet directly with the allergist. They heard it straight from the horse's mouth. We've also had family meetings (without my son present) with each side to educate them, and have sent multiple e-mails providing information.
[This message has been edited by cam (edited September 03, 2007).]

Posted on: Tue, 02/27/2007 - 3:44am
gw_mom3's picture
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Quote:Originally posted by CorinneM1:
[b]
First, purchase her the Peanut Allergy Answer Book and have it sent to her house. It is easy to read and written a physician, so perhaps she will take his word over yours.
[url="http://www.amazon.com/Peanut-Allergy-Answer-Book/dp/1931412588/sr=8-1/qid=1172514796/ref=sr_1_1/102-5881148-3287322?ie=UTF8&s=books"]http://www.amazon.com/Peanut-Allergy-Ans...ie=UTF8&s=books[/url]
[/b]
I'm not positive but I think this is the same book I had posted about was in Woman's Day and supposedly tells people how to tell the difference between peanut allergy and peanut sensitivity? If so I don't know if I'd trust my inlaws having a book like that-they would love to self-diagnose dd.
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==============
[b]~Gale~[/b]

Posted on: Tue, 02/27/2007 - 4:32am
saknjmom's picture
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I found that I had to somewhat backtrack after we found out about our child's allergies.
I suppose that I didn't realize that telling them a peanut almost killed my kid wouldn't be enough to make them understand that we can't be around them safely.
I now know that i assumed that they would be as creeped out and worried as I was. I realized I didn't clearly and plainly give them the information they needed to understand cross contamination, may contains, inhalation and contact problems. For the most part, after I clearly explained that nuts of any sort are out for us and that if there are nuts around at family gatherings etc. we leave.
I put the rules out there....don't bring food to my house, do not give my son candy or food of any kind without asking me or DH first. Don't put something out for dinner with a...tell DS not to eat that it has nuts in it.
The family we are around often are great now, but I avoid going to see my family in another state at holidays because I just don't think I can wrap my mind around trying to get them to comply with the no nut thing. There are too many aunts, uncles, cousins to deal with.
I'm sorry, most of us have been there. There is no common solution except attempting to educate....walking out of a few family gatherings also wakes some folks up.
Good luck

Posted on: Tue, 02/27/2007 - 4:48am
NicoleinNH's picture
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poof again
[This message has been edited by NicoleinNH (edited June 10, 2007).]

Posted on: Tue, 02/27/2007 - 9:45am
gw_mom3's picture
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Quote:Originally posted by NicoleinNH:
[b] I'm not sure what Woman's Day said about the book but the book is very clear about the seriousness of peanut allergies.
Nicole[/b]
The blurb in Woman's Day said the book will help people to distinguish between peanut allergy and peanut sensitivity. It didn't mention doctors in the blurb so I'm assuming they meant the average person on the street could determine this. My inlaws are the type to read a book like that and decide for themselves that since it mentions a sensitivity then our dd must have that since they can't fathom someone actually getting sick or dying from such a common food. Even though dh's bil almost died from a shellfish allergy-apparently that is different than nuts.
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==============
[b]~Gale~[/b]

Posted on: Tue, 02/27/2007 - 11:08am
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Are you sure you aren't in my family? I could have written the exact post last year. Between the unsafe Valentine's candy and the Reece's PB cups at the family gatherings...and the bowls of nuts, I thought they'd never get it. They still haven't but they are starting to come around. I think they started to get the message from watching us read things and not letting her eat the food they try to give her.
I think the thing that helped the most is that DH took a leading role. That way it was their son not the 'paranoid daughter in law". I am so far from paranoid, my comfort zones are probably too loose, but they still will see it that way since they don't live it.

Posted on: Thu, 03/01/2007 - 1:39am
AuntAmanda's picture
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Quote:Originally posted by SallyL:
[b]Are you sure you aren't in my family? I could have written the exact post last year. Between the unsafe Valentine's candy and the Reece's PB cups at the family gatherings...and the bowls of nuts, I thought they'd never get it. They still haven't but they are starting to come around. I think they started to get the message from watching us read things and not letting her eat the food they try to give her.
I think the thing that helped the most is that DH took a leading role. That way it was their son not the 'paranoid daughter in law". I am so far from paranoid, my comfort zones are probably too loose, but they still will see it that way since they don't live it. [/b]
That's just so sad. people like that make me see red - and it's not because of V-Day either.

Posted on: Sat, 03/03/2007 - 6:48am
anonymous's picture
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Does anyone know of a recent medical journal article ment for doctors that says the peanut allergies can become more severe with continued exposure? My husband's family is made up mostly of specialist doctors. They have not been very supportive or compliant with peanut free foods for my daughter. 1/2 of that side believe that Peanut allergies are a "fad" that people are blowing out of proportion and that we are "instilling" a fear that is cause the child to have an allergic reaction. The other 1/2 believe that you should have a "gradual desensitising program of increased exposure to peanuts" to elliminate allergic reactions. They have been given several articles and books by laypersons and doctors, but, unless there is a "double-blind" study, or an absolute authoritybased on research writing the article they discount it. Family functions are becoming very unpleasant and unfortunately my daughter is becoming aware that she is the center of the strife. Any idea? Thanks!

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