My boy came home from school a bit disheartened today. Apparently there were left over cakes from the cake stall that were passed around his class. He is sensible enough to know that he can't eat any of them (unless they were ones that I made) and he didn't. The issue was that he was just feeling a bit left out. My heart just sank as the reason I do what I do became apparent, I never want him to feel like he's missing out. This was the first time I've heard him complain, well not that he was complaining but I knew he was feeling down.
So I guess two things come to mind. Firstly, I realised that I will NEVER be able to control every situation where he may feel like he is missing out! Everyone, at some stage of life feels like they are missing out from time to time. A child with so many allergies WILL feel like they are missing out - it's inevitable! I can't possibly be in control of every situation, especially as he grows up. When kids are babies and toddlers that control is easier but when they start school and begin to be more independent there is no way a parent can control everything.
The 2nd thing was I knew that I needed to sit with him and work through his feelings with him. His feelings are valid and NOT to be ignored or dismissed. I think we all know what it feels like when our feelings are belittled or devalued. It makes us feel like we aren't important. While I don't profess to be the greatest mother on earth, (I know I fall far short of my ideal) , I do however admit that this was a special parenting moment. A moment when I know I made a difference - for todays feelings and perhaps the feelings of days to come!
I sat with my beautiful 7 year old boy and I provided a safe environment where he could offload his feelings. I let him talk and encouraged him to share how he felt. Like every child (and adult) , they all want to be heard and acknowledged. It's so important to allow our allergy kids to be themselves and to communicate their feelings in a safe place, whether those feelings be hurt, frustration, anger or sadness. they need to know they have a safe place to vent. Life won't always be perfect, they will miss out on things. the main thing is that we, as parents educate our kids on how to keep themselves safe. The feelings and the emotions of all that living with life threatening allergies encompasses, we learn as we go.
As an extra point, I would also like to add, this is when that allergy friendly lolly jar comes in handy!!
Labels: Feeding a food allergic child, Keeping safe, Our Story