Empowering Our Youth With Food Allergies

Powerful words…

Tip # 4:  “Sometimes we make mistakes but please don’t lose trust in us.  Encourage us and have faith in that we will learn from our mistakes.”

Tip # 12:   “Give us knowledge to empower us for tomorrow.”

I have really been taking Anaphylaxis Canada’s Youth Advisory Council’s 31 Tips for parents with allergic youth to heart…I have two boys in their teens with multiple food allergies.

I can’t stop thinking that my eldest son, Michael, in Grade 11, with multiple food allergies…dairy, egg, beef, lamb, sesame, peanut/tree nuts, fish, shellfish, mustard and raspberries…will be leaving home soon to start his own journey in life with food allergies.

Every day I read a new tip…each day I wonder…have I prepared him to be independent…have I taught him to be his own advocate…does he feel empowered?

Questions all parents ask of themselves when their children reach that certain age…however, having multiple food allergies adds another element of responsibility on the part of the parents and their children.

How does a parent with a child/children with multiple food allergies successfully pass the torch…teach their children to be advocates for themselves…empower them?

Life is all about choices…as parents, we make all the choices for our children but as they grow and mature, there are always opportunities to give our children the chance to take some risks and make some choices.

Isn’t that what growing up is all about…taking risks and learning from them?

Living with multiple food allergies adds another dimension to the risk taking that tends to immobilize us as parents…we understand full well the stakes are much higher when confronted with multiple food allergies.

How, as parents, do we rationalize this reality…while at the same time give our children the opportunity to learn from their mistakes?

I am not an expert…just a parent of two teenagers with multiple food allergies…looking for answers just as much as the next parent with children with food allergies.

I know as a parent with children with multiple food allergies, eczema and asthma issues…my husband and I have made our fair share of mistakes. I have a very large back-pack of guilt that topples me over from time to time.  I have to constantly remind myself…there is no use going back…only forward.

My husband and my mistakes are the templates from which we learn and teach our children with food allergies from…I am forever telling my boys…

“I may not always like the choices that you make but I will always love you.”

I am currently trying to put together all my thoughts, tips, words of wisdom, adapted recipes and experiences as a parent of children with food allergies together. I am hoping to create something that my boys and youth with food allergies can take away with them on the day they head off into the big wide world.

What types of questions cross your mind?

What do the allergic youth of today need in order for them to feel empowered as they leave home for the first time?

I would greatly appreciate your input as parents of children with food allergies, youth with food allergies and parents and youth with food allergies that have already been through these experiences.

Youth with food allergies are uniting…let’s join them!

Please leave a comment or email me at my new address: susan@thefoodallergychronicles.com

May Is Food Allergy Awareness Month In Canada

May is Food Allergy Awareness Month in Canada.

Anaphylaxis Canada is encouraging us all to “get involved and make a difference in your community.” Click here for a link to their website for a list of this month’s events.

I recently received an email from Anaphylaxis Canada with a link to a very important public service announcement for anyone with children…especially teenagers.

Anaphylaxis Canada encourages us all to ‘spread the word’ through email or social media…without further ado, click here to view “The First Kiss”.

As a mother of two boys in their teens…I very much appreciated this video as an ice-breaker.

Another email from Anaphylaxis Canada brought to my attention Anaphylaxis Canada’s Youth Advisory Panel (YAP)…a group of youths with food allergies. Throughout Food Allergy Awareness Month, the youth members will share their tips for parents of allergic youth.

The list of 31 tips encourages parents with children with food allergies to…“prepare them to become responsible for their own allergies.”

What I love the most about this list of 31 tips is all 31 tips were written by youths with food allergies. Photos of youths holding up their tips will be posted daily on Anaphylaxis Canada’s Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts or click here to view the list at Why Risk It?

Real tips from real youth…love it!

Here is my favourite youth tip so far from Day 5: 

     “We can only be empowered…IF you give us the power
to manage our allergies on our own.”

Great advice…I am a work in progress.

I plan to sit down with my boys every day of Food Allergy Awareness Month to discuss the ‘Youth Tip of the Day’…I am hoping that by exposing my boys to tips from other youths with food allergies…my boys will come up with a few of their own.

I am extremely impressed with Anaphylaxis Canada’s Youth Advisory Panel’s venture…giving allergic youth a voice. I hope it helps parents of allergic youth open their eyes and ears…take notice and listen.

It worked for me.

Click here for a link to Why Risk Ita site for Canadian youth at risk for Anaphylaxis for more information.

How will you contribute to Food Allergy Awareness Month in Canada?