It can be scary to be diagnosed with a heart condition or heart defect. However, it is even more frightening and tragic when this diagnosis is made to a child. Children often have questions and it is hard for you, as a parent, to answer them, especially when you aren't even sure what to say or how to say it. After all, you are having to deal with the diagnosis yourself. However, by working with your child's cardiologist and the rest of the pediatric cardiology team, you can answer most of your child's questions and hopefully calm their fears, along with some of your own. It won't be easy, but here are some tips as you embark on this difficult journey:
1. Use Age-Appropriate Language.
When speaking to your child about their condition and situation, it is important that you think about their age and use only age-appropriate language. You want to ensure that they understand what you are saying to them as you explain what is happening to their body. The last thing that you want is to use overly technical terms that will go over their head. But, at the same time, you don't want to oversimplify things to where your child feels left out or uncertain. Simply try to use as clear of language as possible when explaining their diagnosis and potential treatments.
2. Keep Your Child Up-to-Date.
Regardless of your child's age, you want to always keep them in the loop when it comes to their heart condition as well as their treatment because they deserve to know what's going on at every stage. You may not want to give specifics when they are really young, but you will want to ensure that older children (teenagers) are fully aware of the extent of their heart condition. Older children need to know about their past surgical history, the medications that they are currently taking and why, as well as what can happen if they don't take them.
3. Let Your Child Know You Are Always There for Them.
It doesn't matter whether your child is four years old or 16 years old, they need to know that their parents are there for them. They need to understand that you are there for them for emotional support and any other type of help that they may need throughout their treatment. When they come to you, make yourself available and listen to them.Share
4 August 2017
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