Have you ever noticed that so much of the parenting guidance out there is focused on what children are going through at each stage of their development? While that's helpful information for parents to know, it doesn't tell parents what THEIR parenting tasks are for each stage of their child's development.
That's where Ellen Galinsky's work comes in! Her research led to the development of the Six Stages of Parenthood, which focuses on how PARENTS develop at the same time their child develops.
This framework helps parents understand if they're focusing on the appropriate tasks associated with their child's stage of development, are falling behind, or pushing too fast too quickly.
As with any guidelines, they're just that - guidelines. They're not hard and fast rules. However, I think we can all agree that parenting is hard, so any helpful guidance is welcome!
The Six Stages of Allergy Parenting
Adapted from Ellen Galinsky's work, licensed family therapist and founder of this Food Allergy Counselor Directory and website, Tamara Hubbard developed the Six Stages of Allergy Parenting after recognizing that allergy parents could benefit from parenting guidance specific to allergy parenting and the associated emotional aspects.
This purpose of this framework is primarily to offer guidance related to the emotional aspects of allergy parenting, which is often overlooked in allergy parenting guidance currently available. It essentially offers parents a framework to help them develop their mindset and parenting choices for each stage of parenting, which directly impacts their child's ability to learn how to live confidently with allergies. While overall allergy management skills/goals are noted for each phase, the guidance is heavily infused with information related to the allergy emotional tasks helpful for parents to be aware of and/or develop during each stage.
How to Use this Chart:
The information below explains each column in more depth:
How This Framework Helps Allergy Parents:
The Six Stages of Allergy Parenting offers allergy parents a framework to help them better understand how to parent an allergic child throughout the child, teen and young adult years. More specifically, this guidance helps parents with:
Want More Specific Information on Each Stage?
Stay tuned for more detailed information for each of the six stages of allergy parenting, including specific parenting tasks and potential roadblocks to watch out for. (FAC on IG: @FoodAllergyCounselor, FAC on FB: /FoodAllergyCounselor, and FAC on Twitter: @FACounselor).
[Edited to add the new post: The 6 Stages of Allergy Parenting Explained]
If you want to make sure you don't miss more of this kind of psychosocial information, be sure to Subscribe to The Food Allergy Counselor emails (at the bottom of the homepage or via the pop-up), as well as the FAC social media accounts. And THE BONUS for subscribing to the FAC emails? You'll get the free, 3-page Allergy Anxiety & Overwhelm Mini -Guide.
Think This Chart Will Help Others?
Think this chart will help others you know, or your patients? Please feel free to share it as long as the copyright information is visible.
And if you're needing more allergy-related psychosocial support, don't forget to check out the Food Allergy Counselor Directory, the Exploring Food Allergy Families podcast, the Food Allergy Behavioral Health Resource section, and the allergy-specific therapeutic worksheets.
When an editor for the American Counseling Association's online magazine, Counseling Today, reached out to me a couple of months ago to talk about food allergies, I was not only flattered, but excited that she wanted to learn more about this population.
Her goal? To write an article on how licensed counseling professionals can help and support clients with food allergies, especially those that are struggling to find an emotional balance.
The editor, Bethany Bray, asked thoughtful questions and listened intently to my responses. She truly took the time to put herself in the shoes of those managing a food allergy. After talking for an hour, she definitely had a better understanding of the emotions that many food allergic families feel, and got that this conversation was just the "tip of the iceberg" on this vast topic.
The article, entitled "Supporting clients through the anxiety and exhaustion of food allergies" was published last week. Boy, does it paint a pretty accurate picture! Those that have read it has shared that they felt that it truly hit on some of the emotions that aren't always as well-represented, such as the feelings of burnout and exhaustion.
The American Counseling Association is "the world's largest organization representing professional counselors in various practice settings." Their online magazine, Counseling Today, is read by thousands of counselors, which means the topic of supporting clients with food allergies has been shared with many in this helping profession.
So let's tell them thanks! Consider leaving a supportive comment on their article to let the American Counseling Association (and the editor) know that we thank them for exploring food allergies and sharing tips with counselors so they are better prepared to understand the needs of the food allergic community. (Be sure to click on the article link, in the text above, or posted again below, and leave a comment there so that they see it).
Article: Supporting Clients Through the Anxiety and Exhaustion of Food Allergies
As a licensed professional counselor trained in family therapy, I am always curious about how various factors impact family systems. The family is like a mobile in which everyone plays a role in its stability. So it's no surprise that the balance can be thrown off by even the simplest of changes.
The addition of a food allergy into a family system often results in major changes that affect most members of the unit. There have been studies done about the impacts on quality of life for parents/caregivers who care for a child with a food allergy, such as SOAAR's research studies on these and related topics. However, I was curious specifically how non-food allergic siblings felt about having a sibling with food allergies.
In order to gain some insight on this topic, I created an informal and anonymous survey* with these seven questions (listed with results below), which was completed by 25 participants:
(Parents were allowed to complete the survey on behalf of those too young to complete it themselves)
How old are you?
How many siblings with food allergies/related illnesses do you have?
What do you do to help with your sibling's food allergy? (Sample of answers):
Do you worry about your sibling because they have a food allergy?
What other feelings do you have about having food allergies in your family? (Sample of answers):
Do you ever feel you get less attention because you don't have a food allergy?
Please share anything else you'd like to about food allergies being part of your family. (Sample of answers):
Conclusions and Thoughts....
Food allergies, as well as any chronic illnesses, are a family disease - it impacts each member of the family in different ways, both positively and negatively. Some sibling impacts were highlighted by this brief, informal survey.
Read More On This Topic:
*THANK YOU TO THOSE WHO VOLUNTARILY COMPLETED THIS SURVEY. Those who took the anonymous survey were informed on this writer's professional counseling background, the purpose of the survey being for educational purposes, and how the survey results would be utilized in educational materials, such as a blog post. They were told they could reach out to this writer for results if they were interested.
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