Parent Skill #15 — Do not neglect yourself!

This may seem like a difficult task for many parents of a chronically ill child. Our first instinct is to ignore whatever complaints we might have and focus on our child.

Yoga. However, it is very important for you to take care of yourself. If you do not get the rest and nourishment you need, you will be unable to take care of your child. If you are exhausted and stressed, you will not have the clear judgement needed to make important decisions regarding your child's care. If you are overwhelmed by your responsibilities, you will not be able to provide the support your child needs.

Parents must find someone (e.g., a close friend, a clergy member, a counselor, or a support group) to whom they can talk about their concerns, anxieties, and fears. It is critical that parents look after their own physical and mental health for the benefit of their whole family.

Children are very perceptive. They know when their parents are upset or worried. If parents of a chronically ill child let their worries and anxieties show, they run the risk of increasing their child's anxieties. Children follow their parents' example on how to react to difficult situations.

If parents are not handling the stress well, then the chances are great that their child will also have problems coping. For the sake of your family, talk things out with a trusted friend, counselor, or clergy.

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