Daily Archives: April 21, 2017


medical-1617364_640
Having a sick child may mean that you have to accept many bitter pills concerning your child. One of such bitter pills is your child’s development. Every parent who has a child knows that one of the joys of parenthood is witnessing the attainment of various milestones by their child. It seems like the most natural thing to expect from a growing child. The beauty of beholding the newborn and watching them blossom as the months go by creates lasting memories that parents capture, share and treasure. Unfortunately, the incidence of sickness means that some families are robbed of this . It is a devastating blow for all parents in this category. From new parents who never get to experience these emotions to experienced parents who experience a certain kind of grief for their child. The existence of other children earlier born in the home means that there is a constant unconscious tendency to compare the inabilities of the sick child against the abilities of other existing siblings. Though not deliberate, this mental exercise can leave the carer in a state of grief and helplessness. For the new parent, this blissful ignorance is taken for granted. One of the impacts of lots of hospitalisation early in a child’s life is that the child misses the opportunity to experience the freedom of trial and error offered to them by being able to roam freely in their natural habitat- home. Children in hospital find themselves confined to beds, cots, playrooms and generally- four walls. This affects all children in different ways irrespective of their physical abilities. Even where physically able to explore, the restrictions imposed on them may be the only way to safely administer all that they require to be nursed back to health. For the more delicate and less able children, these restrictionss and their physical inability to explore their surroundings further compound the issues affecting their development. Thankfully not all children with life long illnesses have to remain hospitalised. Some recover as they grow while others are managed at home with medication, care and experience. Irrespective of the category Sick children later fall into, the long stays in hospital take their toll on early development. Some escape with mild delays that leave them playing catch up with their peers while others remain severely delayed. Speech delays, movement delays, feeding delays, social and communication delays are not uncommon. It is therefore important as a parent carer to be prepared in terms of your expectation from your sick child. While parent carers seldom admit that they set high expectations for their sick children, their sadness at their children’s inabilities can be interpreted as such. Here are a few strategies that a Parent carer might find useful in helping them deal with their feelings of sadness and helplessness concerning their child’s development; Give your child time : As highlighted earlier, children require time to recover from the effects of frequent hospitalisation early in life. Even older children who become unwell and needing frequent hospitalisation also suffer from these same effects. They deal with feelings of shock and uncertainty about the future. They also have little understanding about the effects of the new diagnosis on their lives. Parent carers need to give enough time for things to settle after their sick children are discharged for some of the effects of hospital long stays to wear off. For example A recuperating child who may be finding it difficult to settle back into routines at home may be seen as becoming difficult. Parents and carers also need to give themselves time to understand the full implications of the prognosis for their child’s future health, development and general well being. The dust always settles in the end and every family always finds a way that will work for them as long as they stay calm and patient through the whole process. Try to avoid comparison : The growth and development of a child can sometimes feel like a race. Children appear to constantly face comparisons because their levels of development seem to be constantly measured based on scales and milestones. In reality, these scales and milestones should only be guides as they are derived from averages and do not reflect the differences inherent in the vast population of children’s statistics from which they are derived. More importantly, when a child is sick or recovering, these scales should not apply. Every child is different. Even two children with the same condition may be affected differently by the illness. Therefore to cope better with the possibilities regarding a child’s development, it may be a good idea to view your child individually and measure their progress based on what they were previously able to achieve so that even the most infinitesimal progress can be celebrated. If comparisons are necessary, then they have to be fair and be from a category that the sick-child actually falls under. Do not be too hard on yourself : It is quite common as a parent to beat yourself up about everything relating to your child. This is usually more on parent carers or any parent under any form of stress as a result of the pressure imposed on them by virtue of their position as parent carers. Parent carers may experience sadness because they feel like they are constantly comparing their child one minute and not comparing them enough the next minute. These feelings are very normal. Every parent wants the best for their child. It is quite normal and natural to look up and see how we are faring against others and just because you are a parent carer, you are not exempted from this feeling. What is really not normal is for a child to be unwell and so this is why your child is falling behind. You have to come to terms with this in your own time and at your own pace. While getting to the point of understanding your child, try not to spend most of the time beating […]

Hospital life : Worried about your child’s development