I've heard successful adults with disabilities say they owe their success to their parents, who didn't treat them any differently then their siblings. Is it because that child was expected to participate and not given excuses to fall back on, that they became successful? That just may be the secret. If we raise our children with too many restrictions, we teach them excuses and anxiety. But if we raise our children with the tools to protect themselves, we raise confident successful children.
Have you heard of Bonner Paddock? He is the first person with cerebral palsy to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro unassisted. Please, please, please, please, PLEASE watch this video. I beg you. It can change how you raise your child with allergies.
Teach our children with allergies to have mental strength and confidence!
Don't misunderstand me and assume I mean that your peanut allergy child should go get a job making peanut butter. Of course there has to be SOME restrictions to keep them safe. Many times though I think our fear causes us to put our children into a protective bubble and expect the world to change for our child. But there is a reality. Our children CAN live a normal life. We just need the tools from the very beginning to instill in our children to do so.
We already have to tell our children "No, you can't eat that, you're allergic" but do we really have to go as far as telling them "No, you can't go to that party, there's food there, it's not safe". I've heard it before, I've read it before, and I believe it is the #1 cause of the anxiety in food allergic children. By telling our children that because their allergenic foods will be somewhere in a building that it isn't safe for you to be in is, in my opinion, the wrong way to approach it. That child will grow up with a fear and anxiety to do anything. How is that any way to live?
Now, I know as a parent of a child with severe multiple allergies that in the beginning it does feel as if you can't do anything. There are restrictions of what is safe and what is not. But it's very important that we think clearly as to what is the reality and what is our worst fear. Instilling our fear into our children will not keep them safe, it will not raise awareness, it will not allow them to live a normal life.
Sloane Miller recently stated at the EpiPen® Summit by Mylan Specialty L.P. (the makers of EpiPen) "You cannot eliminate risk, you can manage risk". That, my dear friends, is what I'm talking about. We should not expect the world to change for our children (even if it does mean we would finally be able to relax). We should not use scare tactics to communicate the severity of allergies to our children and others. We should not use exaggerated possibilities as the norm. We need to just deal with the facts, focus on properly educating our children and give them mental strength. Who knows...maybe some day it'll be our kids saying "I am who I am because of my parents, they believed in me and didn't treat me any differently".