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How to Help Your Child Cope Emotionally with IBS

Being diagnosed with something like IBS is stressful for your child and for the family. Kids especially take their cues from you on how upset they should be about this condition. The more you highlight your child’s IBS, the more he feels like it makes him stick out. The more worried you are, the more likely he is to think he has a serious illness.

Your job as a parent is to keep life as normal as possible. Downplay the fact that your child is different or sick as much as possible. You have to acknowledge the fact that he has symptoms and do whatever you can to help give him relief, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be a production.

Be conscious of labeling him as sensitive, different, and so on, because those labels can hurt (and stick). And make sure you respect your child’s privacy; for example, don’t talk about his bowel movement in front of his friends or siblings.

That said, don’t pay so little attention to your child’s IBS that he feels alone. Try to keep chatting with your IBS child. If he doesn’t feel like you understand, he may close up and avoid talking about his bathroom experiences and symptoms, feeling like he has to deal with them on his own.

Remember that one child’s IBS affects other kids in the family as well. Suddenly, brother is getting more attention and special food treatment, which if left unchecked may lead to resentment (especially if the non-IBSers feel like they’re having to throw out their cheese puffs to accommodate the IBS kid’s new restrictions).

Make sure everyone is getting attention, information about the new changes, and healthy snacks, and check out the following section for more on keeping everybody feeling well fed.

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