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telling your small children

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Old 08-03-2005, 10:01 AM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 67
jennypash HB User
telling your small children

I posted this at the end of another post recently. Just wanted to see if anyone else had stories to share. My son is 7 years old and I don't want to tell him about my MS (was just dx'ed on 7/15, so I am not sure I have accepted this myself yet). I think at his age he will be scared I am going to die or somthing. Kids have such active imaginations and my little one tends to worry alot about all sorts of things. SO I really don't want to add to his anxiety

I just got a package of info from my local MS chapter and in it is a book on how to explain the disease to children. I read it and it said that open communication is key to your child developing normally and all that. I just don't know what is best for him.

What have your experiences been with small children. Are you pro or con telling them?

I figured I could tell him when he is older and can understand a bit better.

Thanks so much.

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Old 08-03-2005, 10:14 AM   #2
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Durango, Colorado
Posts: 1,443
Jewel2 HB User
Re: telling your small children

Hi Jenny,
Another difficult part of MS, as if there weren't enough already! My daughter has no choice but to be open with her 4 year old daughter as her MS is the visible type. Right now she just says that she gets sick from time to time and needs the doctors to help her feel better (to explain the hospital stays). As she gets older she will give her more details. My daughter always tells my granddaughter these things with a positive attitude and a smile. When she really needs my granddaughter to be more cooperative because she really doesn't feel well, she says it with a more serious, firm tone, but not in a frightening way.

I think trying to hide it won't work for long as kids can be very intuitive. Him seeing little signs and clues, yet not knowing what's going on, could leave your child's imagination open to more frightening possibilities. I don't know your son personally, but if he is a typical 7 year old, he'll listen to you, be concerned, but will go on living his 7 year old carefree life.

The other thing is, what if you have a major exacerbation and he's totally in the dark? He would then be trying to cope with the news that mommy has MS at the same time watching you struggle. I think that one thing at a time is enough.

This is just my two cents.

Best wishes to you.

Old 08-03-2005, 11:01 AM   #3
Senior Veteran
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Indiana
Posts: 667
KelliD HB User
Re: telling your small children

Hi Jenny! I also have a 7 year old son. I have shared with him about the MS on a level he can understand. All he needs to know is that it is an illness that acts up sometimes and when it does, mom needs to slow down and I need for him to be patient with me. I am DEFINITELY pro-telling your kids. I know my son will ask more questions when he's older and that's fine. Just think of it as explaining "the birds and the bees." Don;t tell him any MORE than he NEEDS to know right now! <grin>

Old 08-03-2005, 02:13 PM   #4
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 8
lifeishumbling HB User
Re: telling your small children

I was diagnosed 6 months ago. I have two children. My son is 6 and my daughter is 5. At their age, their DAD (me) is Superman to them. (I just took them to watch a movie called "Sky High" last weekend, and they were ready to believe that their mom and dad are also superheroes - like in the movie). My wife and I have decided that they are too young to know and comprehend right now. Obviously, they see the change in me - not going out as much due to the heat, not being able to play hours of soccer with my son or shop till we drop at the mall with my daughter. So far, all they know is that Daddy is getting old (by the way, I am 32) and they all laugh and tease me about it. I am inclined to find out how to talk to the kids about my MS but want to wait a few more years. My primarily reason for not telling my kids is that they have this sense of enormous security because after all their Dad is Superman. I believe that at this age, this sense of security is a good thing as it will promote self confidence. Eventually, they will figure out that Superman was actually Christopher Reeves.

Old 08-03-2005, 04:21 PM   #5
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: texas
Posts: 138
beachlover247 HB User
Re: telling your small children

When I had my 1st exac. and was dx., my oldest was 7. I don't remember exactly what we told him, but it was in very simple terms. He then saw me recover and never mentioned much else about it. I've been extremely lucky to have gone about 11 years without any visible problems,,,,so I never bothered mentioning the disease to my two younger ones cause I didn't want to scare them(now 12 & 14). Well, this last exacerbation happened so suddenly, that they've had to do a lot of adjusting to new information. Had I told, them, I think they would have less frightened. You never know when they might need to call for help, etc. and it would help them to know what exactly if wrong with Mom or Dad. Also, they said, "Oh, so that's why you avoid the heat?" In the past we had just told them the heat makes me feel tired. There are some excelllent websites that have interactive books that are very short and simple. I even had my 12 year old read it. It was a little kiddish, but it did put it in terms they might understand...and you know how kids love computers! I think I found it thru Montel Williams' website...I think. I had to click on a couple of links to get to it, but anyway, I hope this helps. Good Luck, Sue

Old 08-04-2005, 08:58 AM   #6
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Virginia
Posts: 60
Filipinone HB User
Re: telling your small children

My daughter was 9 when I told her. It actually was by accident; as it was during her visitation (split family) that I also had a doctor's appointment. My neuro didn't go much into detail with my daughter but when we got home, we check the MS website and find a kids area where it really helps in explaining MS to kids.

Now every now and again, my daughter likes to joke with me and says "Yea, I'm feeling tired, it must be your MS rubbing off on me."


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