What should I tell my other children about my child with epilepsy?:
It may be helpful to talk with your other children about epilepsy, and encourage them to ask you questions about it. Children often have misconceptions and may even blame themselves in some way about what has happened to a brother or sister. They may be afraid they will start to have seizures, too.
Siblings may also feel abandoned and lonely because the parents have been so focused on the problems of the child with epilepsy. Parents may have had to spend long hours at the hospital while the other children waited at home.
Setting aside some special time for the other children in the family, and making time to answer their questions fully should help.
Can I discipline my child with epilepsy?
Ignoring behavior you don’t like (so long as no one is likely to get hurt by it) and rewarding good behavior is as likely to work for children with epilepsy as it is for other children.
However, parents often worry that discipline or emotional upset because of a wish that is not being granted will cause a seizure. They may be tempted to give in to unreasonable demands from a child with epilepsy because of that natural concern.
If this is something that happens in your family, ask your doctor about the level of risk for your child and how you can exert discipline in a way that is safe and reasonable.
What should I tell my relatives?
Others may have beliefs about this condition that hail from an earlier time. They may think it is somehow linked to mental illness (it isn’t), or someone’s fault (wrong), or is related to mental retardation (usually not), or is even a sign of spiritual possession (an old myth that still lingers).
Helping other family members understand the true nature of epilepsy as a medical condition affecting brain function will set these fears at rest. Your commitment to helping your child live as normally and actively as his or her condition permits, and to treat your child as much as possible just like any other child, will guide their response as well.
Does seizures affect my child's self esteem and how can I help?
One of the biggest challenges for parents when a child has seizures is to help the child maintain self esteem.
Studies comparing children with epilepsy with children who have other chronic health conditions, such as asthma or diabetes, show that having seizures has a more negative effect on how children feel about themselves.
The way parents feel about the epilepsy also affects how the child feels. Families that are open and accepting, and that help the child build on strengths, can make a positive difference in the child’s life.
What other ways can I help my child?
-Emphasize the positive; praise success.
-Build on things the child likes and can do.
-Avoid describing the child’s seizures or the financial burden of medical care as problems in front of the child.
-Encourage a special hobby or lessons to acquire a special skill. Discuss seizures and epilepsy openly with the child and answer his or her questions about it.
-Encourage the child to be active and to have as much social contact with other children as possible.
-Try not to make your child’s seizures a reason not to do things the family would otherwise do.
-Take some time for yourself without feeling guilty about it.
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