The challenges of parenting are compounded if your child has epilepsy. Not only do you have the normal concerns about raising a child; now you have to make allowances for epilepsy.
This article details common concerns facing a parent who has a child with epilepsy, and how to handle them.
How do children deal with epilepsy?
It’s natural for a child who has a chronic illness or who is different from other children to feel resentful. Children with an illness such as epilepsy might develop emotional problems, such as poor self-esteem or depression. These problems might come from within (anger, embarrassment, frustration), or from outside. (Children with epilepsy might be teased by other children.)
How can I help my child deal with these feelings?
As a parent, you can help your child deal with these feelings in the following ways:
- Make sure your child understands as much as possible about his or her disease.
- Try to get your child to be positive about his or her disease and focus on things he or she can do.
- Don’t let your child’s illness prevent you from disciplining him or her if necessary.
As for your other children and the rest of your family:
- Be sure your other children understand their sibling’s illness. If they are feeling neglected, try to spend more time with them.
- If you think it’s necessary, seek family counseling to help everyone understand how to deal with the illness.
- Let your extended family know about your child’s illness and answer any questions they might have.
Children and epilepsy medicine
If your child is taking medicine, you can work with your child’s doctor to make sure your child is taking the medicine correctly. Some things to be attentive to include the following:
- Learn the schedule for the medicine (how many times a day to take it, whether it should be taken with food, etc.).
- Find out what to do if your child forgets to take a dose of medicine.
- Know if any of the medicines require blood tests.
- Be aware of the potential side effects of the medicines and what to do about them.
- Ask the doctor what to do if your child is ill and/or has a fever. (Fever sometimes brings on seizures.)
- Make sure your child’s school knows that he or she takes epilepsy medicine, and that arrangements are made for him or her to take it at school (if necessary).
What else can I do to protect my child?
Monitor your child anytime he or she is near water, whether at home or outside.
Here are some tips for inside the home:
- Keep an eye on your child while he or she is in the bathtub.
- Make sure the bathroom door opens outward rather than inward, so that it can still be opened in case your child falls. Take the locks off the bathroom door.
- Check the bathtub drain to make sure it’s working properly.
- Keep the water in the tub at low levels.
- Keep the water temperature low to prevent scalding.
- Install a shower or tub seat with a safety strap in the tub for older children.
- Keep all electrical appliances away from the sink or bathtub.
Outside the home:
- Don’t let a child with epilepsy swim alone.
- Make sure all adults, including the lifeguards and swimming instructors, know that your child has epilepsy.
- If your child has a seizure while swimming, get him or her out of the water as soon as possible and check his or her status. If anything seems wrong, contact the doctor right away.
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This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. This document was last reviewed on: 1/2/2009...#12252