I have a 3 yr old with a severe PA. A lot of the local schools have gone peanut free this year, which has caused my sister in law to act like a wild woman on a rampage against PA. She is continually posting jokes and making nasty comments out leaving residue on a surface so a PA child can find it. She does not believe that there can be reactions from other contact other than ingestion. I have tried to educate her and talk to her about how this is a very serious allergy and can be fatal. She refuses to listen and continues her comments. It is very very hurtful to both my husband and myself. Luckily, our child isnt old enough to understand the hatred that is coming from her aunt. It also shows that she has no love, care or empathy for our child. My husband wants to write her off and be done with her. I struggle with that because I grew up in a very tight family and family is very important to me. But I am not sure what else we can do to get her to understand this allergy as well as how much pain she has caused our family. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated on how to deal with difficult family members. I know that people that dont have to live with PA, dont understand them. I didnt understand them until I had to when my child was 13 months old and we found out the hard way. But my family has gone above and beyond to protect my child and learn about this. I dont know what to do with someone that looks at this as a joke.
By jshecathorn on Oct 9, 2013
the title was supposed to say 'thinks' not things. thats what I get for not proof reading :)
By jshecathorn on Oct 10, 2013
we havent had to face too many issues yet as our child is just barely 3 years old. I understand how people on the outside dont get it, but such a close relative? And yes, I can say that I can only hope she some day comes down with a food allergy and see how funny it is then.
By PaulaSquillacioti on Oct 9, 2013
I do not care who it is, people do not understand and never will until they live it everyday. It is a constant battle in families, schools, and anyone else who doesn't understand. With any luck, she will develop an allergy of some sort. My aunt is 68 years old and is allergy to shell fish now.
By JanJan on Oct 9, 2013
I'm so sorry to hear of your family member's antics and jokes. I agree with your husband, cut her loose and anyone else who insists on exposing your child to an allergen that could kill them. I'm 52 and have always been PA. I have had reations to being exposed to peanuts in my environment- after exposure, I don't know how serious my reaction will be. My family understands AND remembers to be peanut free, but I deal with co-workers who MUST consume peanut products ( although they warn me when they have them). Until she "gets it" interaction with her should be minimal at best. Her folly is dangerous to your childs well being.
By PeanutAllergy.com on Oct 10, 2013
Question of the Week: Answered!
Every week, PeanutAllergy.com is answering one of the questions posted in our community.
Our Answer: We are sorry to hear that your sister-in-law will not take your child’s peanut allergy seriously. As you’ve said, some people do not understand the severity of the situation unless they’ve had to live with it.
You did the right thing by trying to teach her about the allergy. You can describe what it would be like should an allergic reaction occur and explain that allergic reactions vary. You can also show her the research behind reactions that can occur through ways other than ingestion.
You said that family relationships are very important to you, but so is the safety of your child. You cannot control how others will react to your child’s situation, but you can control how your child is exposed to these people. Help her understand that making comments about leaving residue lessens your trust in her and that she may not have the privilege of interacting with your toddler. If she cannot take the allergy seriously, then you cannot take her seriously.
We posted this on our Facebook page asking our fans asking for their advice. You can read their responses here.
By pamela hughes on Oct 11, 2013
I am so sorry. That is just awful coming from a family member. You are doing the right thing by calmly giving reputable information about it - She sounds so unreasonable and really angry about this or something else. Whatever the case, you have to protect your child. As much as you don't want to write her off, you are your child's protector. We came from a small town where our son was the only child with a severe peanut allergy. People didn't understand that it's deadly. I tried my best to be calm and nice as I educated everyone I could at preschool, church and at Pre-K. People were wonderful. The leaders wanted to make things safe for our child. Except a few who were so angry their kids couldn't eat peanut butter in his classroom. They just didn't get it and were angry. One lady wrote an article in the paper about how one kid's peanut allergy was dividing the whole town. Really? My point of all this is: You are doing a great job and although it hurts, you keep protecting your child and do your best to focus on the good. You are being a great parent and sister-in-law has major issues that could endanger your child - she is choosing that. So now you are choosing to protect your child. Good job.
By Tuni on Oct 13, 2013
send this to your sis-in-law or share it on FB where she can see it....http://blog.mommeetmom.com/index.php/dear-insensitive-peanut-obsessed-momma-please-climb-down-from-your-high-horse/
By raye on Oct 13, 2013
I am sorry to say, it seems that every family has at least one member who stubbornly refuses to be educated. In mine, it is my sister. I suggest you do the following if you want to work at maintaining a relationship with your S-I-L. Go to Google and type in each of the following names and make a copy of at least one news-release on their deaths in the past few months--and there were many others. Give these three accounts to your S-I-L to read. If she doesn't then "get it", I would simply drop her from any physical contact with my child, and be content with sending Holiday and Birthday cards, instead.
Google these names:
-Cameron Groezinger-Fitzpatrick (19-yr.-old who ate half-a-cookie with only peanut OIL in it and died within the hour).
-Amarria Johnson (7-yr.-old girl who ate one M&M on playground and died). A bill has passed in the House and is presently before the U.S. Senate to mandate Epi-pens be put in all schools in the U.S., and the bill will be named for Amarria.
-Natalie Giorgi (13-yr.-old twin girl who died in her father's arms - he was a DOCTOR) while on family vacation. She only bit into and immediately spit out a treat containing peanut butter.
If you S-I-L does not change her attitude after having read these three accounts, then you should simply dismiss her as hopelessly by-choice ignorant and feel no guilt at having distanced your child from her. It is her choice, not yours.
By Mrsdocrse on Oct 13, 2013
Sorry to hear about your sister in law's ignorance. That is really was it is. Ignorance. Does your SIL have children? If she does then I would just say to her that if a doctor told her that one of her children have a life threatening condition would she make a joke out of it? Until you walk a mile in my shoes don't judge. I would tell her that if she can't respect your wishes then she will not be invited to your house. ( You can't control what she does in her house, so just don't go over there.) I host a lot of family gatherings so that it can be at my house and I can control the situation. No peanuts / nuts are allowed in my house. If your SIL is so mean spirited to continue to make fun of you after you have told her that you are very hurt by her comments then I would write her off. I might also get her a copy of "it takes one bite" or recently the Discovery channel did a documentary on food allergies that explains it very well. Maybe you could ask her to watch that. Good Luck
By jap on Oct 13, 2013
Ok I am not one to beat about the bush and you can review my other posts, I do not have to be politically correct all the time.
This is not just a case of somebody not taking you seriously this is juvenile, unkind, malicious, unthoughtful, I could go on. Joking about putting peanut residue would actually bring a voluntary man slaughter charge if it happened.
People like this would also be the first to want considerations if it was their little child.
I would suggest your husband dealing with his sister and I would stay away from that side of the family until she can show your family the empathy it deserves. If your family cannot support you in life who can ? I certainly would not trust her with your child's safety regards her allergy.
I have never had people be that flippant, some close but they were not trusted family, demand the safety and respect you and your family deserve. Remember what would Clint Eastwood Do ? Julian
By jshecathorn on Oct 13, 2013
thank you everyone for all your comments. it's nice to see that there is support out there. we have decided to stop family gatherings with his side and we will invite his parents to our house on a separate occasion. his sister is not allowed anywhere near our daughter as we cannot trust her. you are right in the fact that she would be the first one to fight for her kid if the shoe was on the other foot. she also is the first person to get mad if someone tells her something to do with her children even as just a helpful suggestion. as for now all we can do is distance ourselves and make sure that our child stay safe. her safety is and always has been my top priority as a parent.
By jap on Oct 13, 2013
The woman obviously has other issues and any rational empathetic person would not behave or act in such a manner as she does.I think her actions are mean callas and uncaring almost malice, I am not sure she cares to hear anything from anyone or would care
By kricar on Oct 13, 2013
Perhaps bringing her with you to your next doctor appointment might help. You never know hearing it directly from your allergy doctor might be enough for her to finally believe this is no joke and it's hurtful that she finds your child a safety entertaining.
By raye on Oct 13, 2013
What a strong set of parents! And very inspirational to those of us just entering this wicked peanut allergy situation, with its attendant fear, frustration and sadness. One is usually inclined to "be nice and go along with others' wishes" in a case of what foods are to be served at a gathering, but this is one situation that requires diligence for your child's safety, and that does not always allow being nice (or at least, does not always allow one to do exactly as the family thinks they should at family parties). I am so amazed that some of our family members seem to be the biggest problem with understanding the importance of "absolutely no nuts or cross-contamination by nuts at get-togethers" Is the party ALL ABOUT EATING NUTS? We and our children do not want to even have to address this problem and we certainly do not enjoy making special requests, but it is simply a life-threatening medical condition out of our control. Do people really think we are being vigilant in order to feel special?? Goodness, no. There is not anyone among us who would not be thrilled to never have to give nuts a second thought again! Heaven forbid if the casual ones ever have a child with life-threateing food allergies. And I would have found it amusing, if not so serious a subject, that your family did finally comply with not serving nuts WHILE YOU ARE THERE, but had them BEFORE YOU ARRIVED! (Who is to say a stray nut would not be on the floor or in a crevice in the sofa when your child arrived--or even small amounts of nut protein still on their hands??). I was also bowled over that they HAD to have nuts AT ALL, almost as though they were a vital part of a religious ritual or something. It seems immature that they don't "get it" enough to simply forego eating nuts for a half-day of a special family gathering a few times a year. And DO NOT LET ANYONE KISS YOUR CHILD at the party unless they go brush their teeth first! My mind won't let go of the fact that they still HAVE to have their nuts "before or after" you are there. Sounds like a bad case of either stubbornness or ignorance! Hang in there. You are great parents and your child is learning valuable lessons from your example.
By firthfamily on Oct 13, 2013
My son and daughter both have nut allergies one to peanut and the other to tree nut so we have not been able to have nuts in our house for years now. At first my family didn't get it either and thought that it would be ok to have nuts around even when they were little. We had to sadly say that we wouldn't make it to holidays or family get togethers unless things changed. We did have to leave a few times before the holiday parties even started. Since then we have compromised and the family is still able to have peanuts but only when we are not there. So they do it before we get there or after we leave. For the actual meal everything is safe. I have had something similar happen at school, in the end after trying to work with the principal we ended up changing to a school that would be meet my childs safety needs. Leaving if it is unsafe and showing your child that you support them is the biggest thing I think that you can do. It throws a strong message, and most importantly you keep the moral high ground.
By Kiwi Mum on Oct 13, 2013
Have her watch the Discovery Channel documentary about the allergy epidemic in America. I had some family members watch it and they were quite shocked at what happens when a child has a reaction to nuts. It is a real eye opener. Until then I don't think they realised quite how serious it was. http://www.discoverychannelcme.com/patient-education/food-allergies
By ldwells62 on Oct 13, 2013
Unfortunately, your SIL will not be the only person you will encounter with the same attitude. Some people just don't care and others are just uneducated. I still have several family members, including my child's grandparent, that thinks my child's peanut allergy is just a bunch of "fooey". Stand your ground and avoid this person and/or these people. If they cannot show compassion, understanding or empathy towards this type of situation, what will they?
By tandgmom on Oct 16, 2013
One thing food allergies has taught me is that it has a way of showing you people's true colors and/or how they really feel about you. The people, like your snl, who are in denial and are negative just because they don't want to believe your child's food allergies are dangerous have serious issues and are a danger to your child. For some of them, no amount of "educating" is going to help them understand because the actual problem is not the fa it's their negative attitude. You are doing the right thing by distancing your child and your family from this person. We've had to do the same thing. It's sad, but it's usually family members, the people who are supposed to love you, that this happens with, which is what makes it so hurtful. I'm sorry this happened to you, but I can tell you that later on you'll be glad you learned who this person really is.
By mb1554 on Oct 17, 2013
I am continually shocked at the calloused indifference of some people towards life threatening food allergies, especially family members who should hold the safety & well being of the child above all else. As another stated, are NUTS to be given priority over safety, as if the ingestion of nuts were sacred or the only food available? I applaud your efforts at protecting your child while attempting to maintain family harmony, however, we all know that safety comes first. I am in a similar situation caring for my goddaughter's little one newly diagnosed with PA/TNA. Since she is here during the work week, we have made our house peanut & nut free, even though difficult for my kids to give up PB & Nutella. My kids agreed 100% as they love this little girl & want to keep her safe. My goddaughter is faced with ignorance and stubbornness from both sides of the family. One side seems confused & has had bowls of nuts at family gatherings. Her own sister insists on cooking the turkey in peanut oil for Thanksgiving. I have typed up a short info sheet on PA for those who seem ignorant of the condition. Continued refusal to provide a safe environment for any PA child is either due to ignorance or some other serious issues. If you have provided education on PA, I would then confront your SIL & ask what the real issue is. I would state that while she may be willing to risk playing Russian Roulette with your child's life, that you will not, and cannot come to her house if she continues to treat your child's life in such a hurtful & cavalier way. Enlisting the aid of health care professionals and other family members may help, too. Don't give up altogether, continue to send PA information her way, but be prepared that there may be other issues here affecting her judgment. Good Luck!
By survivingfood on Oct 17, 2013
There seems to be something much deeper going on with your sinl then anger over PB sandwiches ban. From a psychological perspective so much can be advised but more information is needed. The simple answer might be is that she is stuck between Denial and Anger stage of dealing with this life changing event (someone has to push her along to acceptance). There could be so many reasons why...You don't have to write her off, but possibly keep at a safe distance from your child until she reaches the acceptance stage (this could take a while). But this could also send a strong message on just how serious your child's disability is. You could say things like "I love you as my family member, but your behavior and attitude towards your nice's very serious life threatening condition are not acceptable at this time so until they change we will not be able to spend time together out of concern for our daughter's well being." I also don't think that you are the right person to educate her about PA because she's already established a bias against you. If you feel like it you can also remind her that if she is caught intentionally spreading PB to cause harm to a child with PA it might be considered a felony. And remind her that the PB that she spreads can become ingested when one touches the residue which goes along with her theory. At any rate don't give up. The more people we have on the side of our children the safer they will be, but it's not an easy process.
By jap on Oct 17, 2013
Don't take it personally regards the nut allergy People in every situation in life shock me , From drivers on the highway to the obesity epidemic etc etc. Expect the worst in people and you won't be disappointed.
By Kim k on Oct 18, 2013
I really feel for you. We have dealt with some ignorance with my inlaws, but this goes WAY beyond ignorance. I personally have chosen for my family to only spend time with others that support us, and clearly love our children, specifically where our daughters PA is involved. her life depends on it. Sadly, that excludes some of our family members. We have great friends and most often, almost strangers are more supportive than some family members.
Not everyone has to agree, but your family should not be sabotaging the well being of your child. Don't waste your emotional energies on this person. Surround yourself and nurture relationships with people who genuinely care for your family. Clearly this woman does not. If she did, she would do anything to keep them safe. I wish you luck. I am so angry for you!!
By saralolawill on Oct 28, 2013
It could very easily be her child or her next child (if she plans on having children). I once did not understand the severity. After I educated myself and then had a child with a PA/TNA I gained a new perspective.
My in-laws don't take my son's PA/TNA seriously and continue to expose him to Peanuts. There will be a coming to Jesus moment because it is no longer safe for him to be there if they don't respect my child's health and safety.
I am so sorry that you have to deal with this.I would treat her with complete compassion and just tell her that you hope on she understnds