Parent Skill #13 — Help your child find others with whom to talk about the chronic illness

You and your child will likely develop a special bond as a result of the experiences and time you spend together. You will be an important source of support for your child. In addition, your child will benefit from developing other relationships as well. Many children with chronic illnesses feel isolated and alone. Relationships formed with other children who have the same or a similar illness often result in very strong bonds of friendship, providing support for both children and hleping them feel less isolated.

Fun with friends who understand. Your health care providers may know of one of the many camps and support groups for children with chronic illnesses. They also may put you in contact with a family who has a child with the same or a similar diagnosis. Perhaps it will be a family who has experienced similar treatment, and whose child has now finished therapy.

Doing homework. Friendships that develop at camps often continue when the children return home, and visits, e-mails and texting can be great sources of support throughout the coming year. A bond forged with someone who truly understands what you are going through can provide immense validation for your child's feelings and the opportunity to share essential coping strategies.

There are many famous people and athletes who have experienced chronic illnesses in childhood. This knowledge can be especially empowering to a child, and help them feel hopeful about their future.

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