Parenting and Pain | Coping with Chronic Pain while Caring for Children
Everyone with children knows just how hard parenting can be. But for parents living with chronic pain, parenting is even harder. Taking care of children while also dealing with chronic pain symptoms is a challenge—and it’s hard on the whole family. Research shows that children whose parents are experiencing chronic pain are at a higher risk for behavioral issues and adjustment problems, and are more likely than other children to report pain symptoms. Although it’s a challenge, parenting through chronic pain is not impossible. If you’re looking for tips on balancing parenting and chronic pain, our Texas pain specialists at the San Antonio offices of Dr. Raul Martinez are here to help. Read on for advice from our expert pain management doctors.
Tips on Parenting While Living With Chronic Pain
1. Be honest with your kids about your symptoms.
While it may be tempting to “grin and bear it” to avoid letting your kids see your suffering, experts suggest that talking about your experience with your children is healthier than trying to hide your condition. For young children, keep it simple and be honest. For instance, you might say, “Mommy’s hurting right now” and “There are some things other parents can do that I can’t.” As your children get older, you will need to repeat this conversation to give them a better understanding.
2. Offer reassurance and answer questions.
However, it’s also important to be reassuring. Your children need to know that you’re not dying, and that your pain symptoms aren’t contagious.
Ask your children what upsets them about your condition, or what their fears are. If your child says they’re worried about you, you may want to tell them that “It’s ok.” But by asking why they’re worried, you can clear up any misconceptions they may have about your condition. Some young children may mistakenly believe that something they did caused you to get sicker, and they may be blaming themselves—so it’s important to ask them questions.
3. Plan ahead.
If your child has a piano recital coming up, make sure to get plenty of rest on the days leading up to the big event. Chronic pain management requires awareness, patience, and proactive planning.
4. Give yourself credit.
It’s crucial to be gentle with yourself. Try to remember that there is no such thing as a perfect parent, and that your time and attention are ultimately more important than the physical activities you are unable to do with your child. Try to focus on what you can do, rather than dwelling on what you can’t.
5. Ask for help.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your community. Tell your friends and family what you need and how they can help you, and communicate with your child’s teachers.
6. Find a support group.
There are support groups for chronic pain sufferers that may provide you with a valuable space to share your experience and learn how others have coped under similar circumstances. Remember, you are not in this alone.
7. Take care of yourself.
It’s hard to make yourself a priority as a parent, but it’s very important to take care of your own needs. Do something small for yourself every day. Keeping your stress level low can make a big difference in alleviating chronic pain symptoms, and it can also reduce the emotional toll of living with chronic pain.
Struggling With Chronic Pain Management? Our Texas Pain Specialists Are Here to Help
If you’re struggling with chronic pain and have been unable to find the right treatment for your symptoms, Dr. Raul Martinez is here to help. We offer all patients a personalized treatment plan based on their unique conditions and symptoms, utilizing customized treatment options.
To schedule an appointment at our San Antonio clinic, fill out our patient forms, and we will get back to you as soon as possible. Don’t wait—let our pain management doctors help you get your life back on track.