The Mighty Logo

5 Things Every Parent to a Child With a Chronic Illness Should Hear

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Being a kid with a chronic illness, things in our day-to-day fight go unnoticed. One thing that should never be ignored is everything our parents go through with us. Here are five things I believe every parent of a child with a chronic illness should hear.

1. You don’t always have to be the strong one.

We are your child. When we hurt, you hurt. We have those moments of vulnerability where we fall apart because the day-to-day pain is too much to bear at times. It’s OK for you to fall apart sometimes, too. You don’t always have to pretend to have a brave face and be the tough one. We are both in this fight together, and sometimes it’s hard.

2. This is not your fault.

Chronic illness isn’t necessarily something that can be prevented. Sometimes parents are overwhelmed with guilt when they hear of their child’s diagnosis. They think, “Maybe if I had given them a different formula as a baby, or did this more, or did that less, this wouldn’t have happened.” No, these things can’t necessarily be prevented, and being your child with the illness, we know that, and we don’t blame you.

3. Thank you for having the strongest of stomachs.

From cleaning vomit at 4 a.m., to changing an ostomy at 7 a.m., you do it all and handle it like a champ. Sure, you may stand out in the crowd when you’re at work talking about these experiences during your lunch break with your co-workers, but their “normal” and our “normal” are two different ball games. You have adapted to handle these things, and we are beyond thankful for that.

4. Thank you for being our voice of reason.

Sometimes we are too sick to understand situations and think them through clearly. Sometimes we want to choose a treatment option not because we think we will have the best results with it, but because it’ll hurt less. Thank you for being our voice of reason and always thinking through all of our medical situations. We are thankful that you stay on your A-game.

5. You’re fighting this disease too.

As our parent, this is your fight, too. You celebrate when we are in remission. You fall when we relapse. You experience this daily alongside us, and we know it can be just as hard on you as it is on us. Sure, we fight it in different ways; we are well aware you don’t feel the physical pain, but we are also aware that our physical pain can be your emotional pain. This whole chronic illness thing is tough, but we are going to kick it together.

From a child with a chronic illness to all of the parents, thank you.

Originally published: September 8, 2016
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home