Chronic Illness In Children And Support

Chronic Illness In Children And Support

Usually children get acute illnesses like ear infections or upper respiratory tract infection. However, there are some children who can get chronic illness due to factors like genetics, environment, or both. Some common chronic illnesses in children are asthma, diabetes, cystic fibrosis, obesity, malnutrition, cerebral palsy, mental illnesses and developmental disabilities.

Children who have chronic illnesses require a lot of support not only from their doctors but also parents. Providing care for chronically ill children can be stressful both emotionally and financially, and that is why parents should look towards social support.

There are three main types of social support that parents of chronically ill children require and there are emotional support, which helps to comfort the parents; cognitive support, which gives them information, knowledge and advice; and material support, which offers them material things and goods. Most parents expect social support from their friends, and family; and invariably they are successful in getting this support. But the fact remains that parents lose majority of the support when the illness continues for an extended period of time.

Therefore, formal social support can be gotten from talking to experts or people who are experiencing similar problems. These are known as support groups and are offered by hospitals, schools, state institutions and certain private institutions. These groups offer knowledge and information about the illness, and make resources available to help meet the daily needs of the family.

There are many coping strategies and some of them include prayer, ignoring the illness, stoicism, denying the illness and physical activity. It has been noticed that the most common coping strategies used for children's chronic illness are normalization and giving meaning to the illness.

When it comes to normalization, after the initial diagnosis, parents ensure that children take part in normal school and day-to-day household activities. Giving meaning to the illness refers to describing the illness in a positive way so that the balance of the family is maintained. Usually when a child has a chronic illness parents view the illness as something that increases the bonds of the family, increases their patience, makes them start believing in God. Sometimes, the child's chronic illness also helps the parents develop more meaningful goals and values in life.

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Chronic Illness In Children And Support
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