Receiving a diagnosis that your child is ill can be upsetting. When a young person is not feeling well or requires some sort of therapy, it can cause anxiety. However, you can serve yourself and those around you best by remaining calm and learning how to live with your new scenario. Here are some must-dos for confronting the situation without letting it take over your world.
One of the best ways to assist yourself as well as the other members of your family is to learn about what is happening. You must allow for discussions and questions so no taboos are hanging over anyone. Whether you are dealing with a long-term, chronic illness, recovering from a temporary injury or addressing a developmental delay, knowing what to expect and what is happening in your child’s body may help you to approach things more rationally. If you will be going to Pediatric Rehabilitation, then familiarize yourself with the facility and the surrounding area so you can step out for a cup of coffee or take everyone out to lunch one day. Get to know the doctors and therapists on your care team to build bridges and keep lines of communication open. If you feel at ease in your environment, then others will as well.
Kids and adults alike find comfort in routine. No matter if you are doing inpatient or outpatient treatments, there is value in establishing daily schedules. You may be surprised to read that depending on routine moments aids in alleviating stress. There is a sense of reassurance in knowing you have some degree of control over whatever is happening. Beyond what time to get up and what time to go to bed, you should also make sure to infuse consistent instruction into your child’s day. This can take the form of completing assignments for school if they are missing class, creating your own worksheets for them to do or simply reinforcing proper manners so they know not everything has changed.
Connect With Other Families
Even though you may feel isolated, it is essential to recognize that other families have similar struggles. Ask about local support groups or online programs focused on connecting patients and caregivers. Participating in chats or webinars can be informative. You will have the opportunity to make inquiries and receive feedback that might not be as technical or contain too much medical jargon. In addition, members of these communities can empathize with one another and offer guidance. It does not make sense to reinvent the wheel when someone else can share what has proven to be tried and true for them. There is no weakness in asking for help.
Take Care of the Whole Tribe
It is very easy to hyper-focus on an individual who is ill, but you mustn’t forget the siblings or other relatives who are also affected. There may be a tendency to neglect the needs of your spouse or other offspring, but that is not beneficial and may create a sense of resentment. Setting aside time for dinner together or showing up at sporting events, music concerts or extra-curricular activities reminds everyone that they are all an equal part of the team.
Know Your Limits
While education and making time for everyone involved is necessary, perhaps the most substantial decision you can make is to acknowledge your limits. Do not become obsessed with research and science to the point where you cannot relax. Do not sacrifice your own need for quiet time, exercise and healthy eating simply to provide those things for someone else. You need to be cognizant of your well-being so you have the strength to move forward.
Remember not to panic. If you are faced with a diagnosis that requires medical or professional attention, take a step back and compose your thoughts. Find the information you need and reach out when you have to.