Tips for Parents
Parenting a child with ME/CFS presents many challenges. It can be extremely painful for parents to watch their son or daughter struggle with both the physical symptoms and the emotional and cognitive issues this chronic illness presents.
So, what can you do to help? Above all else, believe in your child. Children, especially young children, may have difficulty describing their symptoms and often have no frame of reference for wellness. Listen to and accept what your child says about how they feel and what they can and cannot do. Acknowledging and validating their illness will help relieve the pressure your child feels to prove they are really sick and not lazy, manipulative or school phobic.
Be an advocate for your child. Educate their health care providers, educators, friends, and other family members about the physical and cognitive challenges faced by young people with ME/CFS (YPWC). Be willing to fight for your child if the going gets tough. Children have educational rights – work with your child’s school to ensure that your child is given the opportunities to excel that he or she deserves.
In the article “A Researcher and a Mother Help Others Learn to Help YPWCs”, young people said they need adults to:
- Believe in them.
- Try to understand them.
- Accept them.
- Encourage them.
- Stay with them for the long haul.
So, as you work to be a loving and effective parent and accept the challenges of parenting a child with ME/CFS, you are encouraged to:
- Trust the YPWC.
- Encourage the YPWC.
- Commit to support the YPWC through the long haul.
- Guard the YPWCs self esteem.
- Compensate for the YPWCs losses.
- Commit yourself to the YPWCs growth.
- Advocate for the YPWC.
Give your child the love, encouragement, and support they need. Learn all you can about ME/CFS by subscribing to and reading the Research1st e-newsletter.