Parents want the best for their children. The hope is that their children are happy and healthy for the rest of their lives. So, when you hear the news from your child’s pediatrician that there’s something going on with your child’s health, it can be devastating. Though it may seem like your world is upside down right now, how you cope and move forward is imperative to the happiness and wellbeing of you, your child, and your family. Here is some advice below:
When hearing the news about your child’s poor health diagnosis, it can be shocking. However, while in the pediatrician’s office and in front of your child, you want to try and keep it together as best you can. This is so you do not emotionally overwhelm your child without first having all the facts. If necessary, ask to take a moment to use the restroom or step into another area of the doctor’s office to get yourself together.
Get a Second Opinion
Whether your child has been diagnosed with diabetes, cancer, down syndrome, or Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, it is highly recommended that you get a second opinion. There are medical specialists for a reason. This is because primary care physicians and pediatricians practice general health topics and medicine.
A specialist, on the other hand, has received additional education and training in a specific area of health. Getting a second opinion, therefore, gives you a more accurate and detailed account of what’s going on with your child’s health. Specialists can also give you a better roadmap on how to proceed with caring for a child with this condition.
Allow Yourself to Grieve
Now that you have gotten all the facts and next steps about your child’s health condition, you can take some time to acknowledge and feel your emotions. Essentially, you’re grieving the idea of your child living a happy and healthy life as you know there will be trials and tribulations along the way. Take some time to yourself to cry, punch a pillow, pray, shout, or whatever it is you need to do to release those emotions so they don’t overwhelm you. Remember, your child will be counting on you throughout this journey to be their emotional support system, so getting yourself together first is of the utmost importance.
You are going to need support during this critical time in your life. There will also be times when there are things you need or that need to be done that you need assistance with. Now that you’ve had time to process your own emotions, it’s time to call on those you trust for support. Talk with your relatives, close friends, religious leaders, and your child’s teachers and coaches about what is going on and ask for their assistance in any way they can offer it. If necessary, you can also join a support group for parents to give you added advice on how to cope emotionally and how to get your family through this big change.
Develop a Game Plan
You know what your child’s diagnosis is, you’ve been told by medical professionals what your next steps should be, you’ve had time to process your feelings, and you’ve put together a support system to help you through all of this. Now, you’re ready to develop a game plan and put it to action. Get any medications filled that are prescribed by the doctor, purchase any medical equipment or supplies necessary to care for your child, do research on any alternative or holistic approaches you’d like to consider, create a list of foods that are beneficial to improving your child’s health, and make any other necessary lifestyle adjustments.
Keep Life as Normal as Possible
The medical condition that your child has been diagnosed with will already have a negative impact on their physical and emotional well-being. Don’t make matters worse by changing every aspect of their lives. Though some adjustments may need to be made, try to keep life as normal as possible. Stick to regular routines, allow them to participate in activities they enjoy, spend time together as a family, and focus on the positive things in life as frequently as possible.
There is nothing scarier for a parent than to learn that their child has a serious health condition that can alter their way of life. Though this news is devastating, it is imperative that you don’t allow it to cripple you physically or emotionally. You need to maintain a level head and make sound moves that will improve the overall quality of your child’s life going forward. The above-mentioned steps are an example of how you master this.