Educating Others About Food Allergies: Breaking Through Communication Barriers

You no doubt have your own way of teaching people about your child’s food allergy, a way that suits your temperament, and style of communication. So, these six suggestions for sharing information are offered as possible solutions should your sincere words fall on deaf ears, or inspire defensiveness instead of cooperation:

1. If you do not feel confident educating others about food allergies, let concern for your child inspire you to speak with assurance. People are more attentive to words spoken with conviction, and when you see that people are responding to your certainty, genuine self-confidence will bloom and grow.

2. Out of apprehension, you may stress the life-threatening seriousness of food allergies when talking with others, but people - especially your child’s caretakers - need an equal amount (or more) of reassurance that food allergies can be well managed—and specifics on how to do that.

3. Even with growing food allergy awareness, the issue is still new to many. People may need to hear about it several times before the information takes up residence in their memory, or the seriousness of food allergy sinks in. This means you must teach with patience - even when it’s in short supply - since impatience causes humans to tune out, withdraw, or wax defensive.

4. Your child’s needs must 1) be understood, and 2) seem doable. Use easy to understand language, and include just enough detail to ensure your child’s safety. Practice your delivery with a trusted friend to get feedback on the clarity of your teaching.

5. No matter what teachers say or how they can have trouble reaching certain individuals and need to try a variety of approaches. Some people respond better to written or audio materials than to a live speaker. Others may listen more readily to a respected expert such as a doctor, or allergist. While one person may be moved by story and metaphor, another only warms up to data verified by research. It’s also possible someone will hear something from another educator that they will never accept from you; it happens.

6. If people frequently comment that you are overreacting to food allergies, or if they express discomfort about caring for your child, take an honest look at your tone of voice and word choice. Emotional intensity and scare tactics can slip into your speech because you are passionate about your child’s safety, but this may cause listeners to doubt your words, or doubt their ability to heed them.

Finally, remember that “Some people will never learn anything, for this reason, because they understand everything too soon.” ~ Alexander Pope

Photo: Pixabay

Latest Community Discussions

Latest Post by Italia38 Wed, 01/15/2020 - 11:03am
Comments: 10
Latest Post by Italia38 Wed, 01/15/2020 - 10:52am
Comments: 2
Latest Post by penelope Tue, 01/14/2020 - 1:03pm
Comments: 1

Peanut Free Store

More Articles

If you have a food allergy, you will probably need to make some changes to your diet...

When love is in the air we can get caught up in the moment and throw caution to the wind. However, if you have a...

Do you have a child with peanut allergies and an upcoming birthday? Perhaps you'd like to bake a...

Many doctors treat allergies, including pediatricians and general practice doctors. When allergies are severe, primary care physicians often refer...

If you are looking for a way to support food allergy education and awareness, you may be interested in a documentary created by a young filmmaker...

The most frightening thing about a severe allergic reaction to a new food is that it can happen so fast. If parents are not looking for allergic...

Skin rashes and itching are common allergic reactions to peanut butter. According to the Mayo Clinic, reactions to peanut butter can happen within...

A low oxalate diet may be recommended to prevent kidney stones from forming. Oxalates are chemicals found in plant-based foods. These may collect...

So many wonderful recipes call for peanut butter. These recipes can still be enjoyed by experimenting with peanut butter replacements.

...

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, one out of five people in the U.S. has an allergy. Because there is a...

Hydrogenated vegetable oil sounds healthy because of the word "vegetable" in it. The truth is that it is not very healthy at all because it...

Foods with soy lecithin may need to be avoided if you have a soy allergy. Soy lecithin is present in many different foods. Since it is derived...

At some point in time, most people will suffer from food intolerance or a food allergy. Having an unpleasant reaction to something you have eaten...

The Jaffe Allergy Technique or Jaffe Mellor Technique (JMT) is an alternative approach to addressing symptoms of a variety of health issues, both...

Phenols found in healthy fruits, vegetables and grains could point to food allergies...

Allergies and anxiety are often experienced together, yet there is no scientific evidence that either condition causes the other. The enduring tie...

Tree nuts and peanuts are distinctly different. An allergy to one does not guarantee an allergy to the other. Peanuts are considered legumes and...

What can you eat if you can't eat peanut butter? Fortunately for people with a peanut allergy, there...

A few years ago, a 47-year-old Toronto woman received a lifesaving double-lung transplant. After the transplant, she suffered four anaphylactic...

Whether it's the holiday season, birthdays, or a dinner party, there's always a need for good gift ideas but it gets a bit more challenging when...