Stories about: talking to your child about food allergy

Food allergy awareness starts at home

Joshua Feblowitz is a Thrive contributor who has lived with severe food allergies his whole life. In the following post he has advice for parents on how they can empower their food-allergic children to play a bigger role in their managing their allergies.

Joshua and his allergist at Children’s Hospital Boston, Lynda Schneider, MD

Growing up with food allergies, I always had to be aware of my condition, but felt confident that it wouldn’t hold me back. If I was visiting a friend’s house, I could pack a special snack. If foods were unfamiliar, I could read ingredient labels and recognize what was safe. And if there was a class party, thanks to a little extra work by mother… allergen-free treats for everyone! I was sure there wasn’t a situation that my parents and I couldn’t handle.

Today, I can appreciate that what appeared so simple back then was the result of how hard my parents worked each and every day. They were constantly vigilant about ingredients, but they also provided a world of support that went far beyond food. I know now that my allergies seemed manageable because they were looking out for not just my safety, but also my well-being.

As all parents of food-allergic children know, caring for them isn’t just about reading ingredient labels and cooking special meals. Equally important and challenging is the task of helping your child adjust and feel confident in managing their allergies themselves. In honor of Food Allergy Awareness Week (May 8-13), I talked with Jennifer LeBovidge, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Children’s Hospital Boston, to learn more about how parents can help their children cope with a diagnosis of food allergies. Here are some things you can do to help your child adjust:

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