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Christmas and the Chronically Ill Child

By Jody Smith HERWriter
 
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your chronically ill child at Christmas time
MonkeyBusiness Images/PhotoSpin

At any time of the year, parents of a child with a chronic illness have plenty on their plate as they deal with the limitations and extra needs that impact their child's life. There are medical appointments and treatments, possible hospitalization to contend with.

When there are other healthy children in the family the juggling gets more complicated. The sick child needs special care, but the other children must not be pushed into the margins of the household.

Christmas intensifies these dynamics for all concerned.

A parent can feel helpless, even while they do their utmost to make life easier for their sick child. Often a chronically ill child will not have a broad base of support from friends or connections to social activities.

Loneliness can be a very real problem, for the child and for the parents as they struggle to care for their offspring.

Do you have a child with a chronic illness? Don't be reluctant to reach out for help and support from friends, family and organizations.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 15 percent of American families have a chronically ill child who has special needs. You are not alone.

When a child's condition is chronic it is not surprising if you feel a sense of helplessness, or pessimism that things will never improve. Such a situation can be heartbreaking.

It is helpful to be able to express your feelings, even -- and perhaps especially -- the negative ones. You may feel sad, angry, afraid, resentful, or be in denial about this situation.

You are not being selfish or rejecting of your child if you have feelings of grief over what amounts to a loss in your life, for your child.

Talking with someone who is supportive can help you work through these feelings and move on to be able to deal constructively with the situation you and your family face.

If you can talk openly with your spouse, by all means do so. If that isn't possible, but you have a friend or family member you can talk to, make use of this relationship. There are many organizations that offer counseling and support for parents with a chronically ill child.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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