Drama! Food Allergies can be challenging for family members as well as those of us who are living with them! :O It can be especially difficult when there are young children involved who can't or don't speak up for themselves. One of the biggest issues for caregivers of those with food allergies is family or friends NOT taking the food allergy seriously, which can leave the sufferer wit serious consequences.
How can one get through to others who just don't understand the roadmap for living with food allergies, or who may just feel that you're being 'picky' or 'bourgeois' with food choices? Yep, that happens Ugh!
[ Don't get in your feelings too much, be prepared for rudeness based on ignorance. ]
Begin with sitting down with the family members or friend(s) for an informative talk. If they feel they're being lectured, there's a chance they're gonna faze out! Start without the child present, as they don't need any more reasons to feel different. As you begin to talk to them, let them know that you're looking out for your child's best interest, and that their health depends on the extended support that they can receive from their family and or friends.
Be informed [which I'm sure you are if you have a child with food allergies!], so have answers that your health care provider have given you so that you can inform and educate. I know it's hard when your children are at hand, but careful measures
[ attempt to remain calm ] can make all the difference...hopefully. Using sentences that begin with "I" such as "I'm concerned about Tracey because she doesn't really know the difference between peanuts and cereal, and she could have a Serious reaction." This type of statement is more effective than "I told you before to get those peanuts out of here when my kid's here!" Yeah, that probably won't go over well. :()
[ London's bumped heads with Clawdie before over food allergies! She needs to develop sensitivity and the knowledge of just how serious food allergies are. ]
Make time to let family members in on the food allergy daily living process, because they haven't a clue the preparation it takes caring for a child(red) with for allergies. They've no idea of the behind the scenes for something as simple as dining out, or reading food labels, deciphering hidden ingredients under different names, the list goes on. Through calm discussions, family's eyes can be opened into our world, and to the child's well being which is the bottom line. Ask them that if they were in your position and had an allergic child, how cautious they'd be. This question is bound to create a more empathetic atmosphere.
There's a documentary on the Discovery channel called Emerging Epidemic: Food Allergies in America that's available online. Have family members take a little time out to watch this so they can get an eye on how widespread and serious food issues have become, not solely in America now but worldwide. Above is the trailer for this documentary. Spelling out the seriousness of living this way will also enlighten family and friends to taking the child's food allergies seriously.
At family get togethers, try planning a No-Food activity. Although this too can be a challenge since activities such as roller skating can involve food (food court), but a pre planned activity which allows the child to come prepped with safe foods ( which also takes the stress off of the family members to attempt to feed the child ) can be just what the doctor ordered!
Family habits die hard! Yes, there may be a container of nuts sitting around for snacking that no one has thought to remove before your visit. It takes time and patience on all parties to move in a more positive health supporting direction. [Yes, you are going to get frustrated because you know the seriousness of allergen foods to your child, but this may be a new lifestyle for family (and friends).] Keep reminding that certain foods can be Life Threatening for your child; Poison. These terms can drive home the imperative actions of keeping trigger foods at bay. Remind family that you are all working for the greater good, the health and life of the child(ren)!