How do we as parents answer these types of questions? How do I help my 3 year old son understand that he is not allowed to jump, climb, run or rough house because he has multiple fractures in his neck due to extensive use of Prednisone? How do I help them understand that going to a friends house or school can be dangerous for them when their immune systems are depleated? These are questions that stay on my mind all night...How do I as their mother help them be children, and yet keep them safe from germs and more broken bones?
I want to give four examples as to how I have answered some of these questions with my children, and I hope that they will help you as a mother or father of a child with Chronis Illness....
1) Be truthful with them....I am not sure how to stress this enough....Don't try and shield your children from what is going to happen...As an example, one of the answers to the questions that my children have asked me is " mommy is that needle going to hurt me?" Being honest is hard with this question because you know that if you are honest you are going to have tell them that, yes it will hurt but mommy will not leave you! Another answer would be that while yes the needle is going to hurt if they stay still it will not hurt nearly as bad.Help them stay calm. If you want to cry when they are getting stuck, DON'T!! Wait until you have a moment to yourself without your child to cry...they do not need your anxiety to add to theirs.
2) Help them understand....You may have to take an example from the internet or from nature to show them the answer, but do what you have to in order for them to feel confident about what is going on with them..... One of the questions that my children have asked me many times during our times of isolation is "Mommy, why can't we go outside with our friends?" How do you explain to a 3 and 5 year old what isolation means? I went online and found some movies and articles that were easy for the children to understand regarding germs. We talked about how germs are spread, i.e...passed by a sneeze, caugh, and grocery carts...ect
3) Be honest if you don't know the answer to their questions. My daughter has asked me what is in the medicine that she takes...I have no clue what is in the medication, but I took her to her pharmacist, that I had called and arranged a time with. He sat down and talked and explained some of the medications she was on...She knows what it is now and she has a better understanding...
4) Try and relax!! This is something that has been really hard for me to do...I sometimes think that I have to be so on top of everything that I forget that they are children and one day they will not be home to make these memories with....I want my children to understand, but I also want them to have a fun childhood..
I hope that these few steps help give you some ideas how to answer some of your children's questions. Don't be afraid to ask their Doctor or their Pharmacist questions that you don't the answer to. They want to be able to help...that is part of their job!