ARTICLES, HEALTHY LIVING & WELL BEING. EATING DISORDERS
How To Talk To Your Child About Their Diagnosis
Has your child been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, a physical illness, or a learning disability? You’re more than likely struggling with how to tell them about what is going on. If that’s the case, you’re going to want to read this article and apply our tips to when you chat with your child about what they’ve been diagnosed with.
Compare their diagnosis to something.
Using metaphors to help explain what is going is a great way to help break things down for your child. Using something concrete like the brain and a computer is a terrific way to explain a learning disability. Other prime examples to use would be the body and a machine for a physical illness. Realistically you can use anything you think of, so if you have something that relates better use it. If your child has an interest in a television show or book, link what is going on to one of their favourite characters.
Talk about what they’re great at.
Before you dive into explaining the diagnosis, highlight their strengths. Then when you start to talk about what is going on with them, link in those strengths, this will show them that they have significant characteristics to counterbalance what is going on with them.
Teach them to represent themselves.
This one isn’t expected to happen overnight, but teaching your child about self-advocacy will help in the long run because then they’ll be able to speak for their own needs. They’ll be able to learn about the tools they need and resources to help with what is going on with them. As they grow older, they hopefully won’t need a parent or teacher to help speak for them. Practice it within your home, have them tell you what they need assertively, over time chances are that it will spread outside of the walls of your home.
Have them look up to others with the same struggles.
Realistically anyone can feel bummed out and discouraged when they’re diagnosed with something that can hinder or hold them back. Find positive role models for your child to look up to who are suffering the same struggle. It can be a celebrity, or it can be someone more local. Watch your child’s face light up when they see that someone else is going through the same thing as themselves
After going over the previous four tips if you still feel like you can’t have the conversation with your child ask a specialist. It’s unbelievable how much they can help you and your situation. In the end, this conversation is going to help you and your family grow closer and create a stronger bond.