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Cure JM Foundation 2017 Conference Breakout Sessions

Helping Your Kids Cope

Session attendees discussing helping kids cope with JMWritten by Carol Schwartz, Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Cure JM Leadership Council

Intro to Mindfulness was a brief look into the concept of Mindfulness and a few mindful exercises. One definition of mindfulness is maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment. We discussed how mindfulness can be used for stress reduction and staying present.

Helping Your Kids Cope was an interactive session with some brief suggestions on ways to help your kids cope.

Some suggestions included:

  1. Empowering your child by encouraging them to stay active even when they feel exhausted. Sometimes adaptation is necessary such as doing physical therapy instead of PE at school.
  2. Be a coach and encourage your kids.
  3. Acknowledge the challenges  of parenting a child with chronic illness and let go of self-judgement. Parents need their own self- care. This is also good role modeling for your children.
  4. Knowing when to nurture and when to push your child. Try to be on the same page as other parent or caretaker.
  5. Don’t focus primarily on child’s symptoms, don’t allow frequent avoidance of activities or exhibit too much stress yourself.
  6. Normalize your child’s situation in a accepting, matter of fact way. Do not ignore or discount level of pain. Try not to reinforce distress.
  7. Your level of acceptance comes through to the child.
  8. Foster positive self awareness.
  9. Help your children learn to communicate about their pain.
  10. If your child is being bullied at school you can talk to teacher and have someone talk to the class/ school and explain your child’s condition.
  11. How to help siblings feel important and not fall through the cracks. Try to spend special time with all of your kids, not only the one with JM.

The rest of the session was a wonderful discussion about difficulties parents were having and suggestions from other parents. This was a great session to collaborate and share with other parents.