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As part of our Virtual Education Program for Patients and Caregivers, Cystic Fibrosis Canada hosted an educational webinar for parents and caregivers of children with CF. Lisa C. Greene, author of three books on parenting children with health issues, certified Family Life Educator, and mother of two teenagers with CF, delivered an engaging presentation on practical tools and skills to help deal with the everyday challenges of living with CF.
Using anecdotes that are easy for CF parents to relate to, Lisa explained that good leadership is critical to managing life with CF, and good leadership requires good communication skills. Part of being a good leader is to give children choices in order to gain their cooperation. Rather than insisting a child take their enzymes with a stern “Take your medicine”, why not present them with a choice that involves them in the decision making? For example, a parent may ask their child, “Would you like to take your enzymes with milk or juice today?” In this way, the parent is sharing control with their child and teaching them, at a very early age, about making choices. This begins to prepare them for the more significant self-care decisions they will be faced with as teenagers and adults.
During her presentation, Lisa stressed the importance of family relationships and emotional support on the health of family members. Research has shown that family interactions and the emotional environment have a powerful impact on an individual’s health.
Though nagging, threats, bribes, and punishment may work in the short term to push children to do something, allowing children to learn from their mistakes, within reason, teaches them that their actions have consequences. It is crucial to teach children about making choices so that when they are in their teen and adult years, they are motivated from within to make good decisions, including appropriately managing their own medical routine.
For more valuable tips and insight from Lisa and to hear the question and answer session, please watch the full webinar here.
For those interested in learning more, Lisa has kindly prepared and shared a helpful document with further information here.