Talking about PA with/in front of your child

Posted on: Sun, 03/10/2002 - 1:09am
BS312's picture
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Joined: 09/05/2001 - 09:00

Do you censor what you discuss about peanut allergy in front of your child? Do you try to protect him/her from potentially upsetting information? Or do you think that it is important for your child to hear as much as possible about his/her allergy? Or something in between? How does the age of your child affect your discussions?

Posted on: Sun, 03/10/2002 - 10:44pm
Taylorsmom's picture
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Joined: 01/11/2002 - 09:00

We found out about my son's allergies and age 2 1/2 and started discussing it right away. I wanted him to know that this was very important and it was dangerous for him to take food from people without mommmy checking. He is now 7 and we have never had another reaction, so I think maybe some of my talks might worked, he is still very cautious and now reads labels before giving the product to me to check. I also have a four year old who is non PA and she is very responsible in knowing what her brother can have and what he can't she also knows what will happen to her brother if he goes near peanuts and lets everyone around her know also! Being open with your children about their allergies can only benefit this situation in my opinion.

Posted on: Sun, 03/10/2002 - 10:50pm
anonymous's picture
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Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I think this depends on the age of your child. This has been touched on before. Some people do not think you should let them know the consequences that can happen. In my opinion, (when you feel they are old enough)
they need to understand the reality of living with peanut allergy. They need to understand that they ALWAYS need to have epinephrine available and what steps we would take if we have another exposure. Mine first heard by overhearing me explain it to others. They asked questions and I answered them honestly. They remember the last reaction we had. They remember that the epi did exactly what it was suppose to do. That is reassuring to them. We do not go anywhere without our meds and they understand why. I hope they follow our example throughout their adulthood. Best Wishes.

Posted on: Mon, 03/11/2002 - 1:41am
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

My daighter is 5. The allergy is a part of her daily life so it is talked about daily.
It is like when you have a baby and they tell you to talk to them all the time so they learn language.
As I am reading the label, grabbing her medicine bag, packing her snack for school, etc. I sort of talk out loud so she knows what I am thinking. Does this make sense?
I don't say it can kill her. I do say she can get very sick and have to go to the hospital.
My 7 year old asked the other day if peanuts can kill her sister. I told her yes but I still don't want the little one to hear this.

Posted on: Mon, 03/11/2002 - 7:47am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

I agree wholeheartedly with Laurie.
We have an only child, and I was also an only child, so I guess I never gave much thought to "inappropriate" conversational topics for our daughter. My parents talked about all sorts of things in front of me, which I think has always led me to take a more "rounded" view of the world around me... but anyway. She hears what we talk about and we don't really try to hide much from her.
I have specifically mentioned to her that she cannot indulge in certain behaviors (like that coughing thing that some preschoolers do experimentally... sounds WAY too much like "that cough"... she understands that I may make a mistake and think that she needs a shot and a visit to the hospital if she makes that sound outside of our house.) or in picking things up off the sidewalk- especially food wrappers.
I explain when we must leave someplace why we are going (people are eating peanut butter near us... that is not very safe for you, so we are going to go and play at home now).
She is three, and I don't want her to ever be under any illusions about how serious her allergy is. If she has a problem, she tells us immediately. She knows to ask for Benadryl if she is having an allergy problem- and I think that is a GOOD thing. (She is 3, has multiple food allergies, is contact/aerosol sensitive, and has had 2 anaphylaxis incidents, for perspective.)
Not that I think this is robbing her of being a kid- she still likes to strip her clothes off and dance in my living room with nothing but panties and her rain boots on! [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] (Ginger Rogers she ain't [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/biggrin.gif[/img])
Growing up with a friend who was diabetic gave me a different perspective, though. I really feel that chronic conditions should be always dealt with matter-of-factly and completely openly with children who will one day (I shudder to consider it) be managing the condition as teenagers!

Posted on: Mon, 03/11/2002 - 11:11pm
kathy04's picture
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Joined: 01/25/2002 - 09:00

My son is 11 1/2 now and we have known about his PA since he was 1. I have always been open and honest with him, as my husband has too. He is an MD so he could offer different perspectives on things as Andrew got older. We have always streesed the importance of knowing what you are eating before you do. He impresses many of the other parents by asking to read labels while at their houses.
I believe that if you aren't up front with them, they might think you don't trust them, or that they are different ( hard for me to explain that one to you) They are differnt but the way andrew is now, you wouldn't know it. He knows the seriousness, remembers how it feels (doesn't like it) and just incoporates into his everyday life.
So I believe in total openness.
Have a great day
kathy

Posted on: Tue, 03/12/2002 - 6:32am
pamom's picture
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Joined: 02/20/2001 - 09:00

It is funny that this subject was brought up. I was just having some self-doubt this morning. My 8 year old pa daughter had an itchy tongue before going to school. Sometimes she gets this from soy products, even though I monitor what she eats, or if something has a peanut trace. I gave her allergy medication and she developed no further symptoms. She was nervous about going to school in case she would develop more symptoms and have a full blown attack. She had a horrible reaction and almost died when she was six and still remembers how serious this is.
I know I talk about the subject freely, without trying to scare her. She has been present when I am trying to talk to a new teacher or adult caregiver, or even a waitress about the seriousness of the peanut allergy. I am just wondering if she should get some extra help, like a couselor or therapist. She tells me it is a huge responsibility for her and sometimes it really weighs on her. She usually copes very well, but somedays it can be scary. I teacher her coping techniques and ways to empower herself. I volunteer, ie brownie leader, room mother etc..., but am I doing enough?
What do you guys think?
------------------

Posted on: Tue, 03/12/2002 - 7:43am
Corvallis Mom's picture
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Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

We have questioned both mental health professionals and our physicians about "when to seek help" for both ourselves and our daughter. This is what we have been told: (but keep in mind that our daughter is only three)
* When you or your child are engaging in behavior which seems to those who know you well to be obsessive/comopulsive.
* ANY signs of clinical depression.
* Drug (legal or not) dependent behavior.
* Social phobia symptoms or eating disorders (can present in very young children with extreme sensitivity and/or kids who have had multiple exposures).
* Post-traumatic stress symptoms (this is the one which is most common in PA kids, we've been told).
Other than that, as the child of a severely dysfunctional family myself (hey- we put the FUN in dysfunctional, I tell ya'- the neighbors used to point to my house and say "that's entertainment...") I can assure you that many of the coping mechanisms that develop spontaneously from extreme stress also come with some real blessings. You learn to tolerate stress better and become more pragmatic and resilient in general. BUT that may come at the expense of a "care-free" idyllic childhood.
Also note that if YOU are worried about your child, that is probably reason enough to seek help. You know your kids best of all.

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