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A medical diagnosis can bring uncertainty to a family and produce more questions than it does answers; however, your consultancy and nursing team will be able to support your family in those first few months. This new change can require adaptions to your home, your lifestyle, and your parenting techniques, so we’ve listed some tips on how to support your child and their mental well-being following the medical conclusion.
Whether it’s a question of ‘how can I make my home accessible for wheelchairs’ or ‘where do you inject sermorelin?’ Always remember to consider your child’s well-being during the process.
Adapt your language to suit their age
Medical terminology can be scary for anyone at any age, but the younger the child, the more confused they can feel. Aim to use shorter sentences with a basic outline of what the diagnosis means and how it could alter their life.
Remember always to ask if they have any questions and answer them as truthfully as possible, but it is okay not always to have the answers, so set aside time to learn together. By having regular conversations and never shying away from having these discussions, your child will feel more supported and more likely to come to you as soon as a query arises.
Discuss every process
whether it’s talking through home adaptions that need to be made or communicating how to take medications. They will really benefit from being part of the process as opposed to seeing changes around them without a clear understanding of why. Aim to always include them as much as they want to be, it could be choosing a new colour to redecorate their bedroom, or it could be teaching them how to inject themselves with insulin – children will feel more at ease if they’re given more choice.
Find other children with a similar diagnosis
YouTube is full of families who video blog their experiences following a medical conclusion, so have a search; you could be amazed at what you find. You could always try to reach out to these people on social media, too, to share questions and encounters.
Seeing other children with similar medical diagnoses’ will help your child feel less alone, as brilliant as it is to have supportive parents. It can feel lonely going through medical processes so knowing there are other children with the same difficulties as them will help their understanding of the new changes in their life.
Focus on the positives and the little triumphs
No one is perfect, and everyone has strengths and weaknesses, so make sure you remind them of this regularly. It is vital that your child doesn’t feel that their diagnosis defines them, and they are encouraged to do activities outside their medical conclusions actively. Physical activity can drastically reduce the chances of depression, so finding inclusive dance or football clubs where they are more than their diagnosis is an important element of supporting their emotional well-being.
Image credit: Freepik
Peter Wallace has been an advocate for mental health awareness for years. He holds a master’s degree in counselling from the University of Edinburgh.
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