Considering the emotional state that many children are in growing up, particularly teenagers
who are just coming into their own, the emotional stress of a chronically ill parent can be almost unbearable. As Kievman
points out, " kids will do almost anything they can to medicate themselves out of the mood that they are in, whether with
drinking or getting involved prematurely with sex or taking drugs.
Any kind of behavioral disturbance in kids- truancy or declining grades or increased
drug or alcohol use or irresponsible behavior with cars- is a way the kid is trying to cope with the stress, anxiety,
pain and parental preoccupation with the illness."
She suggests keeping an open pipeline of information and education going. "If you are already overloaded and don't seem to have the time for your children, make sure that
someone else is available- a favorite uncle, or a grandparent"
"Educate your family about the illness and the accompanying strain. Involve your children
in the caretaking to help them feel a part of a solid family structure".
"Inform the school so that teachers will be sympathetic and realize that the children are
going to be in a fragile emotional state."
"Whatever the age of your children, periodically take the emotional temperature of each
"Depressive equivalence" is often seen in children.
The following are warning signs
- Dropping grades in school
- Wildness and irresponsibility
- Fears and phobias, often relating to school
- Changes in behavior that are negative and non productivity
- Difficulty in functioning with people
- Eating and sleeping problems