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Author Topic: How to help my little one relax  (Read 1779 times)

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Offline NEEDTORELAX

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How to help my little one relax
« on: August 07, 2013, 01:56:07 PM »
Hello All:

I am new here.  I have an 8 yo and she is so scared she is going to get sick from nuts (she has a severe allergy) and a mild seafood, she has caused herself to have such anxiety about playing, touching things, etc.

I want to help her overcome this, but having anxiety myself, it is hard to help her be reassured.  Does anyone have children this age?  if so, how do you help them remain confident about themselves?

Offline Mookie86

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Re: How to help my little one relax
« Reply #1 on: August 07, 2013, 06:36:05 PM »
Have you seen the Alexander series of food allergy-related books?  They can help with feeling that others deal with this and it's ok.  8 might be a little old for them, but I'd check them out.

It's empowering to know how to recognize a reaction and how to respond, and of course to be prepared with emergency medicine if needed.  I think I'd focus on those aspects.  I'd also focus on preventing reactions:  that even if there are residues on a surface, contact reactions very rarely lead to anaphylaxis, so washing your hands before eating and not rubbing your eyes will avoid an ingestion reaction.  I'd also go over the importance of reading a label EVERY TIME to check if it's safe, and at age 8, maybe establishing a rule that you can eat only what mom and dad have approved.

Hopefully these things will provide some sense of control that there are things she can do in order to avoid a reaction, and that if one occurs, she knows how to recognize what's happening and how to stop the reaction.  I hope a greater sense of control would lead to decreased anxiety.




twinturbo

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Re: How to help my little one relax
« Reply #2 on: August 07, 2013, 11:02:37 PM »
Is it everything that she is concerned about touching or is it higher risk situations? Part of the package of LTFA is the need to perform regular threat assessments. We made it a point to be able to get him to the independent reading stage as fast as possible. Like Mookie said reading, hand washing, differentiate risks, start sensible protocols now while she's interested. My kids think the allergy books are weird so we don't read them. My older child practices with the Auvi-q trainer on himself. I think having the square injector talk to him has made him a little less concerned about the needle and he's the type of kid that 3 adults need to hold down for a vaccination.

Offline NEEDTORELAX

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Re: How to help my little one relax
« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2013, 06:02:27 AM »
It appears everything. But when she is not thinking about it or has time to think about it she is fine. I told her about hand washing and I even took some individual hand wipes with us to dinner. I told her she could always carry one if she did not have the ability to wash her hands.

We think we may have her talk to someone so that she can have coping skills and get her confidence back.

This is so hard but we will get through this!

Thanks everyone

Ps. We did get the new talking epi and that seems to have calmed her down a little

Offline PurpleCat

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Re: How to help my little one relax
« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2013, 06:56:26 AM »
Does she have any questions she may not have asked you?  Do you have regular chats with her about her allergies?  Does she understand she can be in the same room with nuts and still be ok?  (For that one, I took DD to the grocery store and showed her the bins and bags of nuts.  She looked from a distance and did not touch.  After that she knew what they looked like and that looking at them and being in the same store did not make her sick.)

My DD went up and down with anxiety at younger ages as she became more aware of her allergies and how dangerous they are.  I think that is normal.  I always checked in with her and let her drive the conversation including if it was not necessary - LOL!

I do know of another family who's child had huge anxiety issues.  Turns out the child learned at school that she could die...and was afraid to tell her mom and dad that might happen to her!  She did not want to worry them but she was very scared.  Her parents had never told her.  Once it all came out and they talked as a family her anxiety issues were greatly reduced.


Any chance this is related to going back to school?  and what her set up regarding her allergies will be at school this year?  Is anything new or different?


Just some wandering thoughts......it's so hard to watch our kids struggle!

twinturbo

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Re: How to help my little one relax
« Reply #5 on: August 08, 2013, 10:21:39 AM »
Wipes to dinner? At a restaurant or another home? I think it would be perfectly natural to be apprehensive about that if it were trusting food without a label made by someone else or a potluck, for example.

Offline CMdeux

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Re: How to help my little one relax
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2013, 01:18:52 PM »
We carry wipes with us everywhere-- kind of our version of normal.  Then again, a lot depends on reaction history in order to tease apart what is irrational anxiety and what is rational anxiety.

The two things can be very different for the same exact behavior in two individuals.

For example: Nervous around small kids eating from ziploc baggies and wandering/touching items in a public space, wants to leave the area and wash immediately. 

Person A:  long history of VERY severe reactions from (apparent) non-ingestion/occult/environmental exposures to allergen-- rational anxiety, and probably functional anxiety given that there is a response to the situation that seems reasonable and assertive.

Person B: no reaction history, diagnosed by testing-- unlikely to be a rational response, given that the scenario presented seems to pose little actual risk.



Also worth noting that many children with LTFA pass through a high-anxiety phase just before adolescence, during which their responsibility and awareness/cognitive ability to process threats is in flux.  It might help to sit down with your child and discuss very openly:

a) your expectations for her responsibility
b) your expectations for ADULT responsibility (that is, those things she is NOT responsible for)
c) the reason for the rules, and how those relate to her personal risk profile.

If it truly seems to be irrational anxiety, I'd ask your allergist for a recommendation or referral to a mental health professional who can help get her through this rough patch.  But know that this is pretty normal for 7-11 year old kids with a life-threatening food allergy.  :)
Resistance isn't futile.  It's voltage divided by current. 

Western U.S.

Offline tnmom

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Re: How to help my little one relax
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2013, 11:36:53 AM »
Needtorelax, I completely understand what you are going through with your ddís anxiety.  My dd has had the same problems beginning around 2nd/3rd grade.   To help ease your mind, I want to share with you what I have learned from this experience and what I really wish someone had told me very early on.
 
1)  Youíre not alone.  As everyone here has shared, itís really not unusual for a child around your ddís age with food allergies to experience anxiety.   It can also be very scary and frustrating as parents to watch our children experience this type behavior.  The fact is, we are given so much information on how to deal with the food allergies themselves, but very little information on how to deal the emotional ramifications it can cause.
 
2) Finding a good, qualified, food allergy-educated mental health professional is the best thing you can do for your child, yourself, and your family.  I was always very leery of any kind of mental health professional, but our doctor has helped us so much.  Not only can they help your child deal with her anxiety, but they can help you feel confident in the way your handle your childís disability and anxiety, as well as help your entire family cope with the challenges of food allergies.  Just be sure to do your homework.  We learned the hard way, not all mental health professionals know what theyíre doing or understand food allergies.  Be sure to ask a lot of questions prior to visiting. 

3)  Make sure your ddís school is not part of the problem.  My dd was becoming more and more anxious and fearful.  She hated school.  She cried all the time.  I started dropping by the school a lot and personally witnessed some shocking ways the teachers/aides/staff were dealing with my dd.  I realized this was a big part of my ddís anxiety issues.  Honestly, the school had what I thought was a good food allergy plan in place to keep her safe, but the fact was, she didnít feel safe.  A food allergic child needs to feel some control in their environment, needs to ALWAYS feel comfortable speaking about their food allergy concerns, should be able to walk out of any situation and go to the nurse, and not be forced to do something that makes them uncomfortable.  It might be a good idea to make sure your ddís school is on board about her food allergy-related anxiety and what helps her feel safe.
 
Hang in there.  Youíre already doing a good job and youíre a great mom.  You will get through this.  Feel free to pm me if I can help in any way.