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MS and Parenting: Handle Little Issues Before They Get Bigger

When your kids are acting up or you’ve noticed differences in their behavior or mood, are they running into problems due to your multiple sclerosis (MS) or is something else is going on? Even though MS is definitely not the root of all evil, you don’t want to miss the times when it is. Here are some typical scenarios and the best ways to handle them:

  • Your 5-year-old starts wetting his bed after two years with a “clean” record. You’re reading a bedtime story and he tells you that he’s afraid something bad is going to happen to you. He saw all the medicine in the refrigerator and peeked at those needles in the box, and now maybe he thinks that you’re going to die.

    Explain to him that the medicines are good for you and that they’re helping your MS.

  • Your 10-year-old suddenly stops bringing friends home. When you have a heart-to-heart, you discover that his friends have been teasing him about your scooter and he’s feeling embarrassed.

    Consider calling his teacher and volunteering to come in and talk to the kids about MS and give them a chance to see the scooter up close.

  • Your 14-year-old suddenly becomes preoccupied with her health. While you’re riding in the car one day (this is the best place for conversations because everyone’s a captive audience), your daughter asks what her chances are of getting MS.

    To best deal with this question, call the National MS Society for some info about genetics. You can also ask her if she’d like to come to your next neurologist appointment to get some reassurance from a pro.

  • Your 17-year-old starts making noises about living at home for college. When pressed, she tells you that she thinks she should stay around to help.

    In this case, let her know how much you want her to have the full college experience. And, be sure to reassure her that you’ll keep her posted on how you’re doing (and maybe Skype from time to time so she can see you for herself) and let her know immediately if her help is needed.

Obviously, not all problems are this easily resolved, but these scenarios point out how youngsters’ worries can show up in their everyday behavior. With a little prodding, though, you can usually get to the root of things and get your kids talking about what’s on their minds.

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