September is Chronic Pain Awareness month. Chronic pain is something that millions of us all across the country suffer from every year. Many of those chronic pain sufferers are parents and being the child of someone with it can have a huge impact on their life. Here are just a few of the ways your chronic pain may impact your child.
They Have More Stress
The sad fact of the matter is that kids who have parents with chronic pain have more stress in their lives. They have to consider their parent’s pain and their ability or inability to do certain things. Their parent’s pain is something that always sits in the back of their head as a concern.
They Get Used to Disappointment
Because they know about their parent’s chronic pain kids will close off a little. They get used to the disappointment of canceled plans or not being able to do things. Kids might even go so far as to stop asking for certain things because they are sure that the answer will be no.
They Take on Greater Responsibilities
In order to try to make their parent’s life a little bit easier, they may take on more responsibilities than they otherwise might have. They will try to be more independent as well.
They’re Forced to Grow Up Faster
All of that results in them growing up faster. They will always seem mature for their age and they are more likely to put others before themselves. On top of it all, they are going to be more empathetic towards others.
More Likely to Internalize Their Pain
Unfortunately, kids with parents who have chronic pain are more likely to internalize their own pains. This is something that can be seen in close family and friends quite a lot. The “I have such a bad headache…but I know it’s nothing compared to your pain” effect. They are more likely to be quiet about their pains because they feel their’s aren’t as bad and that they shouldn’t complain about them.
More Likely to Experience Chronic Pain Themselves
Studies have found that children of people with chronic pain are more likely to have it themselves and if both their parents have it, they are even more likely to get it. The small silver lining there is that thanks to growing up with parents with chronic pain those kids will have a slightly easier time adjusting to their own chronic pain.
What Can You Do To Help Your Kids?
If you are someone with chronic pain the best thing you can do for your child is to be open and honest with them. If you’re hurting too much to do something, tell them. Also, if you haven’t already done so, learn to manage your pain. Learn how much time you need to rest in order to be able to do something special like your kid’s dance recital or go to the park.
Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for help from friends, family, and neighbors. Maybe Grandma can help by taking the kids out for ice cream or cooking a meal. Consider hiring a maid if you can, they are a lot less expensive than you might think and they are worth every penny if it means you have more ability to spend time with your kids. All of these things together will go a long way towards helping your child navigate your pain.
LaToyia, The Motivated Mom