Emotional support for 9 year old

My son was diagnosed asthmatic at 10 months after having a major asthma attack. He has been hospitalised numerous times since then (including HDU) and has tolerated all the tests, drips, nebs, needles, etc. He loved the ward rounds as he loved being the centre of attention as a toddler!

Recently though he is showing signs for becoming sad and worried about having a chronic illness. I guess I came to terms with the illness when he was younger, but as he is maturing and gaining insight, he is upset. He asks questions like ""I can die from asthma, can't I?"" and says ""it sucks being me"". I'd like to find a way to support him and help him to come to terms with this chronic illness.

I try to be positive, by telling him that we will do everything to control his asthma and not let his asthma control his life. He is very involved in his own meds and can take his inhalers and tablets independently. He also is very good at measuring his peak flow and understanding what is good and not good. I thought this would help him to feel more in control of his well-being and make him understand the importance of taking his meds as he gets older (and potentially less compliant). I am wondering if this hasn't been such a good idea.

I'd like some reassurance that I am doing the right thing! And if anyone has been through a similar time - what did you do to help?

3 Replies

  • I would say that what he is experiencing is an absolutely normal adjustment reaction to coming to terms with his chronic health issues. That may not help you feel better, but its a process that he (and anyone else) would go through and it sounds like you are supporting him well by listening and validating his concerns - and giving honest reassurance about what he, and you can do to minimise the impact. The important thing is that he feels able to express his worries and be heard by you - and that you as a parent are offering support and emotional containment.

    Perhaps you could find out if there are any support groups for children with either chronic asthma/health issues? It might reassure you that he has a positive outlet and support external to what you can give - and give him some new friendships, peer support and fun :)

    Sounds to me like you're doing great ;)

  • Hi Tracey,

    I'm not a parent and didn't have severe asthma as a child so can't help much - but I do remember seeing in passing that there are Kick Asthma holidays for children and teenagers which you might want to look into (could be called something else now? But a search should bring it up) as your son might find it good to meet and talk with other children dealing with the same thing while doing (as I gather) fun activities which he's able to manage. As an adult I know talking to others on this forum and then making friends off it has really helped as while it's not good to dwell on things, it does help when others 'get it' as they've been through the same thing and have similar concerns.

    Speaking of forums and as Nursefurby mentioned support groups, I think AUK also has a children's version of this forum - again afaik called Kick Asthma. I don't know if 9 is old enough to be using a forum, there might be general rules eg needing to be 13? But again you could look into that in case it's possible, and he could chat to some others his age online going through the same thing if you were happy for him to use it.

  • Hi

    my son is 8 and he was diagnosed at 17 months with asthma. he has brittle asthma and silent chest and has stopped breathing twice in the past. he is on a barrage of meds and 2 hrly ventolin.

    He asked me when he was aged 6 after a very bad attack ""am I going to die mummy"", it was heartbreaking. however our consultant explained that children view things differently to adults.

    he has always enjoyed life to the full until this summer when he found that he couldn't keep up with his friends. this is just a natural progression or so his consultant told me 3 weeks ago..

    He is now finding it hard and he started going to sit on his own instead of playing with his friends.so I explained what is happening and why he suddenly cant do what he wants when he wants. It does make him sad sometimes, but as a parent we need to help them look on the positives of what they can do.

    I personally am finding it much harder to cope as he gets older as I can see theres things he cannot do, but we have never wrapped him in cotton wool and im not about to start now.

    if you can get him to concentrate on his good points and not on his asthma he might see it as well ive got asthma but hey I can still do other things.

    all I know is that we are saying to our son, listen to your body, if it says it wants a rest from playing football have a rest, some more ventolin and then try again or do something else until you feel better. he is a bright wonderful young boy and he has to learn to live with this awful life threatening condition as there is no other option. as his condition is quite severe.

    we can just do the best we can and support our child whilst they learn to adjust to the limitations this dreadful condition imposes upon them, but finding an interest that helps them feel good about themselves might help.

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