Helping Your Child Cope With a Medical Condition Make an Appointment Refer a Patient Ask a Question Reviewed by Jennifer Moyer Darr, LCSW (March 01, 2019) Your child’s chronic illness can be difficult, frustrating and frightening. Here are a few suggestions that can help. What You Can Do Clarify your child’s restrictions, triggers and dangers with the medical team. Explain them again to your child in language the child can understand. Empathize with your child’s struggles. “It IS tough taking these medications every day!” Then gently remind your child that taking medications will keep him or her healthier. “I don’t BLAME you for being mad or angry that you can’t eat the pizza! I would be, too! As hard as this, at least you have your own special treat to take to the pizza party.” Develop illness action plans for trusted adults to follow, such as grandparents, babysitters and school staff. Reward your child for daily cooperation with health and medical management tasks or for taking age-appropriate responsibilities. Make sure to TAKE A PARENTS’ BREAK. In order to give your child help, you must make sure to give yourself time as well. Give your child outlets to correctly express feelings, and encourage that expression. For example: Carve out a special time each day to talk with your child. Provide your child with a journal to record feelings. Develop a “feelings corner” at home for hitting a punching bag, ripping newspapers or yelling into a pillow. When You Should Seek Professional Help There may be many appropriate times to seek help, including after your child receives a new medical diagnosis; if you as parents feel overwhelmed, tired or in conflict; or if you observe the following behaviors in your child: A change in mood and behavior School problems Sleep disturbances Intensified sibling conflict A lack of cooperation with medical management Increasing social withdrawal What You Can Expect from a Visit with Pediatric Behavioral Health An in-depth exploration of your child’s illness and its medical and emotional impact on all family members Solutions for managing and coping with the illness, such as ways to improve medication adherence To learn specific techniques, such as biofeedback, relaxation techniques and cognitive behavioral techniques To learn healthy ways for your child to appropriately express strong emotions about his or her illness/condition Follow-up behavioral health sessions, if needed, for individuals and family as well as play therapy. School consultations Call 303.398.1260 to make an appointment with one of our experienced psychologists, social workers or art therapists in our Division of Pediatric Behavioral Health. Illness Management Impact on Families Clinical Trials For more than 100 years, National Jewish Health has been committed to finding new treatments and cures for diseases. Search our clinical trials.