When Children Feel Different or Frustrated

Sometimes children may feel different because of their allergy.27 It is normal for them to want to be just like other kids.  You can help your child when they go through a difficult time.

Listen to your child.  When your child is upset or worried, listen without interrupting them.  You may want to say, “It will be fine” or to try to fix the problem but remember that it can be helpful for them to talk about their concerns and let them know you “get it”.

Help them come up with solutions to problems.  Children can feel more in control if they participate in making decisions.  Even young children can be involved in decisions such as choosing safe snacks.

Teach your child how to handle bullying and teasing.  These are serious matters that should never be ignored.  Tell your child to get help from an adult if they ever feel threatened.  Let them know that it is their right to be safe and treated with respect by others and they are not tattling on others.  Speak with the teacher or principal about your child’s situation when necessary.

Thank your child for coming to you with their concerns.  Tell them that you always want to know if they are having a difficult time.

Remember that there is more to your child than just their food allergy.  Do your conversations focus only on their allergies?  Make sure that you talk about their achievements.

Let your child know that you are proud of the choices they make.  The opinions of their friends and classmates matter, but yours does too!  For example: “I know it was hard when you couldn’t eat the treat at school today, but I was so proud that you said no thank you.  Let’s pick out a great snack now.”

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Teaching Children
  • Role play with your child to practice what to say in common social situations.
  • Show them how to teach their friends about their food allergies. When friends get involved they are usually helpful and want to choose activities that include your child. This helps your child feel supported and confident.
  • Use children’s books, videos and other resources to help your child and their friends learn the facts about food allergy.
  • Encourage your child to participate in a wide variety of activities. This is important for all children to reduce stress and feel good about themselves.
AllergyHome Logo Additional Information
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Children’s Book: The No Biggie Bunch by Heather Mehra & Kerry McManama
Children’s Book: The Peanut-Free Café by Gloria Koster
Web Resource: Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center


References
27. DunnGalvin, A., Gaffney, A. and Hourihane, J.O’B. “Developmental Pathways in food allergy: a new theoretical framework.” Allergy – European Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology 64.4 (2009): 560-568.


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PLEASE READ THIS NOTE BEFORE READING THE HANDBOOK

The information in this handbook is for educational purposes only. It is meant to help people learn how to manage a child’s allergies. It is not meant to give specific medical advice, recommendations, diagnosis, or treatment.

Readers should not rely on any information contained in this handbook as a replacement or substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis or treatment. Nor should they delay getting professional medical advice or treatment because of information contained in this handbook. Medical knowledge is constantly developing.

Please speak with your child’s doctor or other healthcare professional before making any medical decision that affects your child or if you have any questions or concerns about their food allergies.

The authors of this handbook – Michael Pistiner, Jennifer LeBovidge and Anaphylaxis Canada – as well as individual contributors and reviewers will not be held responsible for any action taken or not taken based on/or as a result of the reader’s interpretation (understanding) of the information contained herein.

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