Food Allergy Mental Health
What You Need to Know
(Including How to Take On a Bully)
Food allergy management is stressful, overwhelming and isolating. Yes, we said it. You as a parent, must take care of yourself AND be on the lookout for the mental health of your child. Food allergy mental health is We also know kids can be jerks and food allergy bullying happens to 1 in 3 kids with food allergies. So here is a quick overview. Be sure to scroll to the bottom for our recommended resources if you want more.
What are normal vs. abnormal emotions for you and your child?
We get it. A new food allergy is a lot to process. You or your child probably feel all or some of these things: frustrated, worried, angry, confused, uncertain, scared, sad. And you know what? That is totally normal. Add this to mental health of growing up. There are lots of changes happening.
An emotion is abnormal when it is constant, debilitating, irrational. If you are concerned about yourself or your child contact your doctor.
What are some coping strategies you can use when you feel stressed?
- Close your eyes and count to 10.
- Take a deep breath and focus on the air going in and out.
- Accept that it is what it is. You can’t control everything, but you can control your emotions.
- Write down when you feel anxious or depressed to understand what triggers those feelings. Knowing yourself is very powerful and helps you be resilient.
What does self care look like?
Now that is a great question! For some, like Fooblie’s co-founder Melissa, self care is alone time. For Dr. Maria, Fooblie’s other co-founder, she needs her friends. Some of our fave mental health tips are:
- Take a hot bath or shower after the kids have gone to bed.
- Go for a walk, or take a spin class alone or with your crew.
- Meet your friends for dinner or a movie.
- Go to bed early.
- Watch the movie or TV show you’ve been meaning to watch.
- Ask your partner to take care of dinner and bedtime.
- Be self aware. Ask for help when you need it.
As a parent you can support the mental health of child with a food allergy by doing these things:
- Be positive and give lots of encouragement.
- Make sure your child understand his or her food allergy.
- Be age-appropriate in your approach to food allergy management. You will need to hand it over in time!
- Encourage communication and honesty.
- Give your child private time with medical professionals.
- Try to find support groups or other activities where your kiddo can meet others with food allergies.
Food allergy bullies are out there and they suck
Food allergy mental health is more complicated when there are bullies. What to do if there is one? Take to other adults about the situation, calmly. These can be teachers or other parents. Does your school have a bullying policy? Try to track that down. Tell your kiddo to avoid the bully if that is possible. Or to be with friends. Some bullies are put off if your child is in a group. Tell your kid to use the buddy system.
After your child is bullied it is important he or she regains confidence. Do something where you child feels safe and supported, like a club activity or hang out with friends.
Remember you are constantly modeling behavior
Be the person you want your child to mimic, or at least keep your outbursts, breakdowns and big sighs private. We all have them!
Need more help?
Fooblie coaches do have personal and professional experience on food allergies and are here to talk about food and nutrition. For more mental health support check out what the CDC experts have. You’ve got this!