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 a child receives a food allergy diagnosis, it's common for parents to feel overwhelmed. Worrying thoughts may fill parents' minds with doubt and concern about how (and if) they will be able to prepare their food allergic child well enough to navigate this world on their one day.
It's important for parents to remember that time plays a key factor here!
It takes 9 months for a baby to develop and be ready for the outside world.
A kindergartner has over a decade of schooling to prepare himself/herself for college or work.
Similarly, food allergic kids acquire their skills over time, learning and applying them during each phase of development.
GALINKSY'S SIX STAGES OF PARENTHOOD
The childhood stages of development can provide parents with benchmarks to help assess their own child's growth and progress. While this is useful information, it doesn't necessarily help parents understand their role at each stage of development.
Ellen Galinsky, president and cofounder of the Families and Work Institute, conducted research that led to the development of the six stages of parenting. These six distinct stages offers parents a framework to help them understand not only what's happening during that age range, but what their tasks and goals might be.
Taking this information one step further, I created the image below as part of a food allergy parenting webinar I presented in 2019 (click link to watch it for free), which includes a basic overview of the food allergic parent's tasks for each stage of parenthood. Additionally, I added descriptive titles (in bold) for each stage to help highlight the parenting role for each stage.
how is a parenting framework helpful?
While the parental task list in the previous image seems simplistic, and certainly would include more than is listed above, this framework can help parents assess things such as:
A framework such as this is a helpful reminder that as parents, the goal isn't to teach kids every skill they need right away. A child's age, stage of development, and personality helps guide when and how to teach necessary life skills.
It's also a reminder that what parents teach their children in one stage sets the foundation for teaching the skills within the next stage of development and parenting. Kindergarteners managing food allergies build upon the basic skills parents have taught them as preschoolers. Food allergic high schoolers are learning additional skills and practicing strategies needed for them to develop into young adults that know how to manage their own healthcare needs.
So remember parents....
Rome wasn't built in a day, nor is a fully-prepared young adult managing their food allergies. Use the gift of time and reminders of your parenting role at each stage of your child's development to help guide your skill-building activities.....and hopefully help your worried mind believe that you can do this!
We're all familiar with the term self-esteem, but it can be hard to describe it in a concrete manner.
In the simplest of terms, self-esteem is a positive sense of self. Having self-esteem often fuels confidence, pride, belief in self, a sense of belonging, and a positive self-image. Kids with poor self-esteem tend to be more self-critical, focus on perceived failures, doubt their abilities, and believe they don't measure up to their peers.
Per psychologist Dr. Paul Foxman, we develop self-esteem in two ways:
The first point probably seems like common sense. When parents and caregivers acknowledge and celebrate a child's accomplishments, as well as their values and choices, it helps the development of positive self-talk within the child.
At first glance, the second point may also seem like common sense, but let's dig a little deeper to explore how parental fear may inadvertently become a factor in the development of a child's self-esteem relating to their ability to self-manage their food allergy.
TWO WAYS TO HELP KIDS DEVELOP FOOD ALLERGY-RELATED SELF-ESTEEM:
Remember....kids that develop confidence in managing food allergies become adults who are able to navigate life with food allergies. The opportunities you allow and approach you take to teaching them food allergy management skills directly impacts their self-esteem and internal self-talk about their ability to handle food allergy-related situations.
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