Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis: Tips for Parents

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At a friend’s baby shower, I was asked to write my most personal parenting advice in two sentences. First, I said, “There will be so many times that you will have to say no; so never say no without a reason.” Second, “Try to give the child what he needs, whether or not that’s always what he wants.”

I have five children. Two daughters are grown. Two sons are teens. My youngest turns five this week. Parenting is certainly different with full blown Rheumatoid Arthritis. Tips and methods might need to be modified like everything else.

21 Rheumatoid Arthritis tips: parenting with RA

  1. Be patient with yourself.
  2. Tell your children as much as they want to know, not more.
  3. Use laughter to distill pressure of awkward moments.
  4. Focus on long term goals instead of instant results.
  5. Tell your children where you hurt and how it feels.
  6. Then let them talk about something else if they want to.
  7. Accept help with mundane things like laundry, saving your joints for more tasks that are special to you like their combing hair.
  8. If you can’t do something like comb hair, maybe you can read a story while someone else combs.
  9. Put your effort into what matters to them like reading stories or blowing bubbles or playing Scrabble.
  10. Focus on one another. Take lots of small moments to look into each others’ faces.
  11. Tell the child a little fact about you at the child’s current age so they can relate to your viewpoint or imagine you before RA (if you don’t have JRA).
  12. Be clear about what you expect from them. Give reasons for rules.
  13. Be nearby even when you are unable to participate in their activity. Cheer them on.
  14. Make the relationship a priority over behavior.
  15. Use RA to teach sensitivity concerning disability or limitations. Everyone has a limitation.
  16. Save graphic information about RA for age appropriate situation.
  17. Let the children help you. They could make a bed, cut up food, or carry something too heavy.
  18. Say something hopeful sometimes about your condition or a new treatment.
  19. Play out loud together as often as possible. Tell jokes, watch funny shows, read the comics…
  20. Store medicines where children cannot find them. Be sure little ones do not know where to look.
  21. Help them not to be afraid that they will have RA. The majority of our children won’t get RA.

What has worked for you? Let’s talk about what else we can do with RA and kids.

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Kelly Young. All rights reserved.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, June 16th, 2010 at 7:08 am and is filed under Living with RA / Managing RA. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


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