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How to react when your child is diagnosed of a chronic illness?

Receiving the news of a child’s chronic disease generates feelings of helplessness and the loss of anchor points for the whole family. After this, life as a family forms again from scratch according to a new caliber of equilibrium.

Creating a support network to manage your child’s chronic illness


–           Get information about the illness the treatments, the available help and discuss them with your doctor.

–           Communicate! Try to meet with people who go through similar experiences. Don’t hesitate to ask all sorts of questions to the professionals who are taking care of your child.

–           Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.


Beware of Online information about illnesses


Many online websites give information about diseases and treatments. These sites are sometimes just to market products. Here are a list of questions to ask to see things clearly.

–           Who handles the website?  Do not trust websites who don’t explain this point in a “who are we” section

–           Who supports it, financially? Some websites that may appear to be unbiased sometimes present a particular form of treatment. Proceed with vigilance as they may be financed by the soel provider of the said treatment.

–           Where does the information come from? The source of the allegations should be stated. Don’t trust the miraculous treatments that cannot be proven.

–           Unbiased information vs personal opinion. Many websites present personal opinions undercover of “objective and unbiased information”.

–           How is the information validated? Serious websites validate the information they provide by a well-respected doctor in their respective area of expertise.

–           Does the information match my case? Beware of the mix-ups and learn to tell things apart. Sometimes the information is valid for a certain form of the disease which does not correspond to your child’s case.  This is the case for diabetes, where children’s diabetes is completely different from adult’s diabetes.


Adapting to the new boundaries presented by your child’s chronic illness


–           Explore new activities with your child

–           Do not give up. If you feel like you’ve completely lost control, focus on small tasks that are relatively easy to accomplish.

–           Try to put yourself in your child’s shoes. By doing this, it would be easier for you to understand their reactions and think of solutions to make their lives easier. You should always think of reasonable and objective targets.


Living with the emotions produced by your child’s chronic illness


–           Learn to identify, accept and share your reactions. Do not try to deny or hide these emotions. Accept them and share them with your partner, the members of your family or your close friends.


–           Try not to keep your entire focus on the negative aspects of the situation. Remember all the activities that remain possible and try to focus on the full half of the glass, instead of the empty one.