Expert Advice for ‘The Allergy Talk’

in Food Allergy
Published: April 5, 2011

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Teen Years

Tougher love – Kissing, drinking and perhaps even drugs. Add allergies to this mix and it can be a volatile combination.

Experts suggest kids in their teens often fall into one of two camps: those mindful and even over-cautious about allergies, and those who display the adolescent penchant for risk-taking. The trick in either case is to keep the dialogue open.

Social worker Beth Goldstein finds that allergies present an opportunity to talk to teens about issues such as smoking marijuana and drinking. She told her son, “You can’t share bottles, you can’t share joints.” They also discussed kissing, and the need to ask a girl what she had eaten that day, and then decide if it was safe to kiss.

Chad avoids “death talk” with little kids, but with teenagers who stop taking food allergies seriously, it’s another story.

He speaks of a 13-year-old, with asthma, who he saw at an appointment and “who was taking chances. I told him, ‘If you don’t follow these rules, you could have a severe reaction, and you could die from this.’”

To teens who say aren’t carrying an auto-injector because they’re sure they can just avoid allergens, he’ll say: “That’s called famous last words.”

Essential Related Reading: Your Child and Food Allergy Fears

First published in Allergic Living magazine.
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