Being a parent of small children while dealing with chronic pain is extremely tough for a variety of reasons. Trying to meet the needs of your children while also balancing your own needs and physical pain can be more stressful than regular parenting. Unfortunately, life circumstances can change for some people, and they find themselves dealing with something they hadn’t planned for. If you are a parent and you have been diagnosed with a chronic condition, here are some tips you might want to consider.
Talk to Your Children
First of all, it’s a good idea to sit down with your children and discuss with them exactly what condition you are suffering from, and how this can affect your day-to-day life. Research has shown that children of parents suffering from a chronic health condition are affected in different ways. They can feel anger or resentment that their parents are not as involved with them as they used to be, or they can feel scared for their future. They may then bottle up these feelings to protect their parents from further pain. Explain to them how your body is affected by the condition but reassure them that you aren’t going to die and that what they are feeling is normal.
Compile a List of Low Energy Activities
Depending on the type of chronic pain you suffer from, whether it is arthritis, muscle pain, back pain, or migraines, it’s a good idea to have a list of activities you can refer to when you are experiencing a flare-up and your kids want entertaining. Chasing your toddler around the park is probably not your idea of fun when you’re in agony, so consider having a cupboard full of crafts, board games, books, and puzzles you can turn to when sitting down is about all you can manage. It also doesn’t hurt to let the kids watch a few movies, especially if you watch it with them and discuss what’s going on; this is known as co-viewing, which can enhance learning according to the American Pediatric Association.
Talk to a Specialist
Obviously, keeping your kids indoors all day, every day is not good for their physical or mental health, or yours for that matter! For this reason, it can be a good idea to consult a pain management specialist who can prescribe medication to help you get through a planned long walk or a trip to the zoo. If they aren’t keen on upping your meds, you might want to look at herbal alternatives. For example, kratom may be helpful since it is known for increasing energy levels and some sources have suggested it is a viable alternative to opioids. Just make sure it is legal to use in your state.
Ask for Help
Whether you ask friends and family, or you hire someone to take on some daily tasks for you, every little helps. If you aren’t able to complete all the household chores by yourself, you could ask a family member to help with things like the laundry or the cooking, for example. You could even ask the kids to help you with the smaller tasks on particularly bad days, such as bringing you a glass of water or stacking the dishwasher. Children who help their parents with chronic pain conditions learn coping skills that will come in handy later on in life, and they often grow up to be caring, kind, and patient adults, so don’t feel guilty about asking them to lend a hand. Just make sure they don’t become your full-time career.
Although there are many challenges you will face as a chronic pain sufferer, there are plenty of ways to help you cope better.