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Resources for Parents with ME - helping children come to terms with chronic illness

Discussion in 'Relationships' started by arewenearlythereyet, Jan 29, 2018.

  1. arewenearlythereyet

    arewenearlythereyet Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    I've recently had to do a few internet searches looking for some helpful information. My son has been having difficulties as he realises that dad is ill and may not get better.

    This is quite a normal reaction apparently for a child of his age (9). It is manifesting itself mainly as difficulty sleeping\ general worries etc.

    I looked online for a guide or something to help explain things to him, but most of the resources (understandably) are for parents dealing with children that have ME rather than the other way around.

    So I thought I would start this thread so we can pop useful articles and resources to help children who have parents with ME.

    The first thing I have tried is the following book recommended by the MEA

    This is quite good in that it is written by a fellow sufferer and highlights some of the key day to day issues (description of the condition, prognosis, cant play rough and tumble games, cant have friends around to the house as often etc. etc.).

    I havent read all of this with him, so don't know if its helping yet, but already this has helped tease out his main fears and worries and get him to ask questions. Best not reading this before bedtime though.
    Binkie4, TiredSam, Lidia and 8 others like this.
  2. arewenearlythereyet

    arewenearlythereyet Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    "During the course of childhood, most children will experience times when one of their parents is ill. It is not unusual for an adult to have an acute minor illness. Major illnesses or injuries can also occur. And many adults suffer from chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, arthritis or heart disease.

    For kids, these periods of parental illness or incapacity can be unsettling. Younger children are often confused and frightened when a parent is ill. In their eyes, adults are still all-knowing and all-powerful. Children may express their fear by developing sleeping problems, wetting their bed, regressing to a younger age, or by behaving badly.

    Some children, when confronting a chronic, incapacitating adult illness, may become emotionally flat. Their emotions become constricted out of fear and anxiety. Sensing that their parents are unavailable, they may withdraw into themselves and develop their own chronic problems such as bed-wetting or night terrors. Children may also show their anxiety by developing stomachaches or headaches."

    Read more at http://www.everettclinic.com/blog/helping-children-cope-when-parent-sick#ioqZqmQzAv8DPKAi.99
    Binkie4, TiredSam, Louie41 and 4 others like this.
  3. chrisb

    chrisb Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    I don't think I would read too much about it. I suspect that your judgment is at least as good as that of any author on the subject. You will get through it together.
  4. Invisible Woman

    Invisible Woman Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    From my own experience - i would have been about your son's age when one of my parents became very ill with a chronic health condition.

    Being open and allowing the child to ask questions, and for them to know it's okay to ask questions, makes a big difference.

    As long as he is coming to you and talking to you, you'll work through it.
    TiredSam, Louie41, Trish and 5 others like this.
  5. TiredSam

    TiredSam Moderator Staff Member

    Sorry but I disagree, if you are worried I would read everything you can about it and then follow your own judgement, including any useful nuggets you might have picked up from your reading and disregarding any nonsense you might have had to wade through. As the father of 3 boys, here's a book I found very useful:

    I came down with ME when my boys were 11, 15 and 17. The older two were already out and about with their friends, but the youngest did miss out on doing physical stuff with me like cycling, which I did a lot of with the older two at his age. As far as "rough and tumble" is concerned, ME came along at just the right time for me, ie just as my boys were getting bigger and stronger than me, so I could say "leave me alone, I'm ill!" and they never did get to pay me back for all the throwing them around I did when they were smaller.
  6. Binkie4

    Binkie4 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    I have just bought this for my daughter and grandchildren. We don't see them a lot because they live 100 miles from us. Since I deteriorated at the end of 2016, we have been unable to visit them. It's a nightmare journey around the M25, 26 and 20, and having to sit up combined with the adrenaline rushes of mad drivers, it just hasn't been possible so they come to us.
    They usually come for a day but occasionally staying overnight. Last Easter we rented a house in the New Forest for us all plus our son. I was in bed the whole 3 days, not even up in the evening. It was my 70th birthday and I couldn't respond to the cards, home made gifts etc. Awful. They looked confused.

    And I don't know what they make of it. I am not well enough to talk to them as I wish and my daughter doesn't handle illness very well. I have bought her " Unrest" but the last I heard, she hadn't watched it. She is busy with a full time job but there are evenings. My husband is great at keeping the practical side going, meals and drinks but they would like me to play with them ( now 10 and 6). I try sometimes, solitaire taking turns, knitting but it always provokes pem.

    It's been like this throughout their childhood. I feel so sad they will never know me. I look forward to reading this book.

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