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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 9:10 pm 
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Joined: Thu Aug 24, 2006 1:42 am
Posts: 222
Location: Victoria, British Columbia
Hello again -

Ok, I need to know how to deal with this: What do you do when an important person in you/your child's life refuses to understand the seriousness of allergies? And I mean that they read the material you give them, listen to you rant and rave about the frustration around having allergies, seen you cry about it . . and you still know they just don't 'get' it because of the way they respond to a situation that involves dealing with allergies.

I have to be honest and say that they way I deal with this is I avoid that person. I have not let some of my extended family babysit my son because they are always bringing up allergies in a nasty way and, once, teased my son with a wrapped peanut-containing chocolate bar. I find that after an initial full out fight with them, I still get the blank look of "Oh how fun it is to make you go crazy". And the thing is, I DO end up feeling crazy. And spitting rocks angry, too.

So what should I do with this frustration? I can't avoid everyone that refuses to understand allergies, and I need to be a good role model for my son. It is very immature to write people off forever AND it doesn't feel right. But I am not sure I am strong enough to keep fighting again and again. Right now the person I am dealing with is the principal at my son's school. This relationship should be a strong one, one built on communication and trust. But it just ain't... and it scares me that she doesn't want to understand the seriousness of allergies.

Caroline

_________________
son anaphylactic to peanuts


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 9:29 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 12:09 am
Posts: 1054
It's taken me many years to come to this realization -- you can't change people's minds for them. You can't make them understand or want to understand anything let alone the seriousness of allergies. What you describe about your family members bullying your son with a candy bar is unacceptable - you didn't stand for it, and neither would I. I think it does come down to weighing what is most important for you. Every situation and every relationship is unique but I think the one common denominator is that you and your family's health and happiness must be priority one. I personally don't think it's immature to write people off who disrespect me and my family repeatedly and refuse to attempt to understand where I'm coming from. Instead of viewing yourself as a bad role model for cutting these people out of your lives, think of it as showing your son the importance of choosing healthy, positive, and supportive relationships.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 3:18 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 22, 2006 10:26 pm
Posts: 89
Location: Toronto
I think if your family members value the time they spend with your son, then they will do whatever it takes to be with him. I think right now they are more interested in getting a rise out of you. You have done the correct thing in standing your ground and protecting your child. They are the ones that are going to miss out on being with your son because of their immature attitude. It is better for your son not to be around that type of unnecessary harassment. Remember, your child is watching you and how you are dealing and reacting with his allergy and adjustment to daily life. Teaching him that he does not need to be bullied by ignorant people is a great lesson.
Stay strong!
Ang


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 3:33 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
I would have to agree that what your family did is completely unacceptable. Was it a good relationship to begin with? I can't imagine anyone in my family trying that. If you love and care for people you support and help them and try to understand where they are coming from. You don't hurt and humiliate and torture them. :shock:

Sometimes it is better to walk away from a toxic relationship (and/or toxic relation!) than to try to make it work. It's definitely a very personal decision in which you have to weigh all the factors and see what is best for your family in the big picture.

For the principal... I guess you have some choices. You can live with it as long as you feel your son is safe at school. You can keep trying to build a relationship and see if things improve with time. You can forget about the principal and work with the teacher and your son's classmates to make sure that the classroom is as safe as possible. You can just hang in there and pray that the principal is replaced by someone who "gets it" (that is what happened in our case). If you really feel that your son isn't safe you can find another school - it's been done before. You can homeschool - which has also been done before.

The old adage "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink" has hung around for so long for one reason: because it's true. :?

You cannot change others. I truly believe that. You can only change how you behave in the face of their behaviour. So I guess you will have to try some things and see what works. I know you've had a tough time and I know you wish you had a magic bullet - I wish I had one for you! (Okay, maybe a bullet isn't the best analogy right now... LOL. )

Hang in there! It is very challenging when those who play an important part in our lives work against us rather than with us.

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 7:39 pm 
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Joined: Tue Sep 12, 2006 8:25 pm
Posts: 233
Location: Winnipeg
Caroline2,
My heart really goes out to you in your struggles with your school! By the sounds of it you've tried everything to educate the school and advocate for your son, and the principal STILL doesn't get it :evil: . I can't imagine how frustrated you must feel.
I guess all you can do is back off (as much as possible, without compromising your son's safety), and maybe given some time, she'll start to digest all of the information you've given her and start to come around? How is his teacher to work with?

As far as family is concerned...there are members of my family that I wouldn't leave my sons alone with for 5 minutes. We also would never eat a meal at their homes, or stay there as overnight guests. Not only do they "not get it" ,but they view allergies and our response to them with a negativity and skepticism that would put my sons at risk...at risk for a reaction, and for feeling bad about themselves and their allergies. And yes, this severely limits our relationship and is sad. But I know that it is the only safe, positive, healthy choice for my family.

_________________
1 son allergic to eggs, peanuts, green peas, chick peas, lentils and tomatoes
(avoiding tree nuts and most other legumes too)
1 son allergic to eggs, and has outgrown peanuts
Both with many environmental allergies, asthma and eczema


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