5 Things to Tell Your Children About Your Caregiver Efforts
August 9, 2016
Caregiver in Aptos CABeing a family caregiver is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling roles that you can take on during your life. It can also be one of the most challenging not only for you, but for the others in your life. Especially if you have stepped into this role suddenly, your children might not understand what is happening or what you are doing. They may feel as though you are ignoring them or that they are not getting as much time with you as they once did, which can cause emotional difficulty and a strain in your relationship. By taking the time to explain your care efforts and your role as a caregiver to your children, you can help them to better understand this time in your life and why you do what you do. When you are planning this conversation with your children, keep these five things in mind to help you guide your talk and ensure that they know everything that they need to about your role as a caregiver:
- You have not changed your love for them. Reassure your child that just because you are taking more time to care for your parent and may not be with them as often as you used to does not mean that you no longer love them. Make sure that they understand that you are just as devoted to your role as a parent as you always have been, and that your child is still just as important to you.
- Your parent's needs. Do not just assume that your child understands why you are caring for your parent. Even if they have heard that your parent has a specific illness or issue, they may not understand really what this means or why it would make it so that you have to take care of them. Take the time to really explain to your child what issues your parent is facing and why that means that you need to help them. You do not necessarily need to go into extensive detail, but remember that children are more receptive and understanding than you may think and can likely grasp more than you might think.
- What you do. Once you have explained to them the issues that make it so that your parent needs care, give your child an idea of what you do for your parent. This will help them to understand why you need to take so much time away from them and what you are doing when you have to miss something. Again, you do not need to give details if you feel that your parent or child would be uncomfortable, but help them to understand what it means that you are "caring" for their grandparent.
- You understand their emotions. Do not just make this conversation about you and what you do. Make sure that you tell your child that you know that they are dealing with difficult emotions and that they have the right to feel those things. Let them know that you understand they are going through emotions such as sadness, disappointment, loneliness, and even anger, and that you are sorry that they are going through those things. Offer recommendations for how they can cope with these.
- You are not going to "catch" it. For most children, when they hear that someone is sick they automatically think that it is contagious. This can make your loved one worry that you will catch what your parent is dealing with. This can frighten them and leave them feeling concerned about you. Let them know that your parent's issues are not contagious and that you are still healthy and strong. Put this on display by living a healthy lifestyle, including eating well, drinking plenty of water, and getting enough exercise.