When it comes to making sure our kids stay away from the foods, allergens, and situations that trigger eczema or allergies, they are often our best line of defense. A child who knows what they need to avoid and understands why is often the same child who avoids serious issues with their sensitivities, but what’s the best way to arm them with this information? Today we’re going to look at the two most common methods parents use to teach their kids about what needs to be avoided and look at which methods might be best for your family.
Knowledge Is Power
When it comes to fighting eczema, allergies, or sensitivities, avoidance is always the best medicine. Any time a trigger can be avoided, the body doesn’t have to go through the reaction in the first place and all the hassle and frustration can be dodged. Since we can’t always be next to our kids, it’s a great thing when they get old enough to help filter the kinds of triggers they come in contact with. A child who knows what works for their sensitivities and what doesn’t is more likely to avoid reactions and flare ups while also feeling a lot more in control of their well being. This also leads to parents being able to relax a whole lot more!
Fear As A Teacher
One common way that parents use to teach their kids about food allergies, symptoms, and triggers is through fear. Kids don’t like getting sick any more than we like watching them get sick, so it can be easy to use the fear of feeling bad to drive home a lesson.
While using fear and the threat of poor health is often instantly effective for many kids, it comes with a whole host of issues. Since many allergies and sensitivities are actually trigger by stress, a fear-based method could actually make things worse in the long term.
Teaching through fear often makes kids feel like a victim who has no rights and no ability to take proactive measures for their own well being. Fear shows kids that avoidance and loss of control are the best ways to stay safe, and these lessons can actually spill over into other non-related areas of life.
Using fear to teach kids about their health definitely works – but it comes with a high cost that usually doesn’t feel right for most parents.
Empowerment As A Teacher
The alternative to fear-based teaching is using empowerment and self-esteem. When we give our kids the confidence and control to make good choices for themselves, we help them become empowered individuals who choose health every day. There’s no denying that we have to talk to our kids about the realities of illness and what makes them sick, but we can sandwich that between lessons of making great choices, doing what’s best, and always taking great care of themselves.
Empowerment teachings give kids a sense of control in a world and with illnesses that often make them feel like marginalized victims. Feeling empowered puts kids in a place where they know that they possess the power to make excellent and healthy choices for themselves – and that these good choices translate to really great things in the present and in the long term.
Empowerment may seem advanced, but even young kids can learn it. Teaching through example, cause and effect, and getting real with kids about how their illnesses work is a great start.
An amazing side effect that comes from using empowerment to teach kids about their allergies and sensitivities is that these teachings spill over into other areas of life. Kids who are empowered and confident tend to make better decisions, stay away from trouble, and stick to their own authenticity. It’s a great tool to have because it can be applied to virtually anything in life!
Which Way Is Best?
If you’ve been teaching your children about their unique needs and how to stay healthy, we’d love to hear from you!
Use the comments below and let us know how you teach your kids and what they’ve been able to do for themselves as a result of your teaching.