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Parents of Children With Health Conditions, You Are Doing Enough

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If you’re a parent to a child with a health condition, you may worry that you can’t meet all of their needs. When your child struggles with their symptoms, you may feel like a failure because you can’t stop them or access “better” treatment.  But no matter how old your child is or what they’re facing, you are doing enough, and that’s your greatest success.

You may have fought for your child, paving the way for inclusion wherever they go. You may have faced professional recommendations with which you disagree or had to listen to your child’s weaknesses spelled out in meetings with their care team. You may have seen your child experience discrimination or bullying and felt absolutely powerless to stop it.  But even though you may have struggled silently with how best to help your child and address their challenges in a way that empowers them, you fought back — sharing their potential, coming up with plans to involve them in activities and insisting that their schools and programs listen to you.  You may feel like you’re losing the constant fight to give your child the most fulfilling life, but no matter the outcome, you’re victorious because you care enough about your child’s well-being to make their world easier to navigate.

You may have watched your child grow to dislike their health condition — and fight you as you encourage them to manage their own care.  You may have sat through countless arguments with your child about attending therapies, taking medications and following their doctor’s recommendations.  You may have listened to them vent about how alone they feel in their medical life or about how much they hate attending appointments with specialists, stretching their muscles, having surgical procedures or missing out on time with their friends because of their health.  They may even project their frustration onto you, vehemently expressing their frustration with your gentle accountability. But as your heart breaks for your child and you wonder if you’re failing them, know that you’re doing your best — and someday your child may even appreciate how you express your diligence for their health and your love for them.

You may have seen your child turn from happy to despondent as they battle their conditions — and feel powerless to help them. You may have witnessed them turn to reckless behavior or harmful coping mechanisms and want nothing more than for your child to be as carefree and innocent as they were when they were younger.  You may have tried to curb their destructive impulses or seek help for them, only for your child to revert back to the same behavior that makes you fear for them. You may have beaten yourself up again and again for not being able to make them happy again, turn them away from their vices, or force them into accepting help, but no matter what, your willingness to listen to your child, connect them with resources and love them when they may feel disconnected and unlovable is powerful — and it could even save your child.

If your child is living with a health condition, you may feel like nothing you do for them will ever measure up to your expectations of yourself.  You may worry for your child’s future or spend years feeling like nothing you do is truly helping, but your presence in your child’s life and tireless fight to help them live with their conditions makes you an incredible parent.  Someday, your child will probably understand just how hard you’ve fought for them to live their most fulfilling life, but until then, know that no matter how many challenges you and your child face, you are doing enough for them.

Getty image by Ridofranz.

Originally published: September 7, 2021
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