I am very frustrated. When I tell people my child has a PN/TN allergy, I often hear "Oh I understand, no problem. "I have a citrus, etc. allergy." How do I explain without sounding rude, that though their allergy may cause issues, it is not life threating? The response I normally get is a pooh, pooh attitude, even after I calmly explain. These people are not being mean, "they just don't seem to get it." Any suggestions?
By PeanutAllergy.com on Aug 7, 2016
Question of the Week: Answered!Every week, PeanutAllergy.com answers one of the questions posted in our community.Our Answer:
Thank you for reaching out to the community with your question. We are sorry to hear that you are putting up with people who don’t understand the gravity of your son’s allergy. Unfortunately, cavalier, even rude comments, are something many allergy parents deal with everyday. This can make life incredibly stressful, as you don’t know how seriously others will take your child’s allergy. But with a few tips, you can calmly and clearly teach others about your son’s peanut and treenut allergies!
Firstly, when you are dealing with folks that are tough to reach, it is important that you keep your cool. You can, of course, speak from a place of concern from your child’s safety, but people are far more likely to listen if you remain calm and collected. Realize that you have science and facts on your side (and as an allergy mom, we know you’re an expert). Rationally explaining the severity of a child’s allergy will help make the lesson “stick.”
Secondly, it’s important that your intentions are clear when discussing your child’s allergy. If you say, “My son is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts,” and someone answers (somewhat insensitively), “Oh, I’m allergic to citrus,” this might me you need to follow up your statement. Perhaps the brought up their allergy to show you that they understood how to look for allergens in food; perhaps they were just swapping personal anecdotes. But either way, if you clearly let them know that, due to your son’s allergy, he can’t eat or touch foods with any nuts, eventually the message will get through.
Finally, it is important to remember that some people, sometimes even people close to you, who just don’t get it. If all your efforts to explain allergies fail, it might be time to adjust their relationship with your son: either they see him with you, so you can watch out for peanuts and tree nuts during their time together, or they don’t see him at all. These decisions can be difficult, but the safety of your child is more important.
We hope this information was helpful. Take care!
By mom1995 on Aug 7, 2016
While it is oh so true that some people just don't get, won't get and can't seem to get it, all you can do is stress the difference. We often encountered the same frustrating attitude or assumption. When our daughter was little and in school my best analogy I often resorted to was " a peanut butter sandwich is to my child what a gun is to yours. So are you okay with her bringing a gun to school in lunch box? ". I was never meek or soft about getting my point across because those few(and truly it is few) that just can't understand are the ones I was most vocal to.
19 years ago when we started this journey we were faced with so many folks that just thought we were crazy. I even had a school nurse tell me "I've never heard of anyone being 'that' allergic". My response was "oh, I'm sorry but where is your medical degree? Because I am going to go with what the Doctor has told us." Other parents that said "not my problem keep your kid at home". So yes there will always be that small percent that you want to take out back to the wood shed. Let karma have them and cherish the ones who do get it and surround your child with them. Just keep educating those that influence your child's environment. Find articles, and medical statistics to help make your point. Good luck. There are always people here to listen and help. Keep coming back.