"As a parent of a child who has just been recently diagnosed with a chronic illness, I've learned that it's very important to have a strong faith in God as well as in your friends and family. I've found out how powerful prayer can be when things are going especially bad. I also know that children are very strong and that they have an inner spirit and strength that we often do not give them credit for."
not to do what I was doing. My daughter has fibromyalgia and I've
got similar symptoms. When she would tell me of her aches and pains
I would echo them and say I knew what she was going through because I felt
the same way. I figured that my sympathy would help her in that she'd
have someone to talk to who really understood. I was wrong about that.
I learned that on the contrary, what this did was to invalidate her feelings.
She began to talk less and less about her problems. My wife figured
out what was happening before it was too late, and things are OK between
us again. We're on the same wavelength, but when she talks, I focus on
her, not on me, and I listen to her attentively. To what she's communicating
through her words and through her actions. Hard to do, but well worth it!
Joan Fleitas, Ed.D., R.N.
Associate Professor of Nursing, Lehman College, CUNY
Bronx, New York 10468
Last updated: November 14, 2004