We’ve all been in those uncomfortable situations. Other parents are questioning why they need to change their habits for the safety of your food allergic kid. Or maybe they are complaining about accommodations made by airlines, or schools, or churches that curtail their freedom to eat peanuts where they want, when they want. And you are there, listening uncomfortably, to their complaints about how they have been inconvenienced by food allergies.
It is tempting to be silent, but please don’t! Here are some phrases that are almost magical in changing the tone of the whine-fest. Please only use when completely true!
“Before dear son was diagnosed with food allergies, I felt that way too.”
“Before he reacted at the baseball game, I wondered the same thing.” (true for us)
“Before that trip to the emergency room, I thought…” ( thankfully haven’t been there )
“Before his eye swelled up from contact with ____”
“We are proud of dear son. He is used to going without and not complaining. He can have something special to eat when he gets home.”
“Our allergist Dr. Wood told us to…”
“The allergist told us not to…”
“We know he has not outgrown it because …”
“We have thought about going to ___ restaurant, but we were not comfortable after we talked to the manager.”
“I was frightened when I thought about what could have happened…”
“We looked into ___, but our family has decided it was too risky for dear son.”
“I was so scared when I realized I hadn’t been careful enough…”
“After that near-miss, we started to ___.”
[Explaining why dear son can’t eat their home-made brownies.] “I can cook for peanut allergic kids. But even now I am not able to cook for kids with milk/egg/wheat allergies. We just have too much of those in our kitchen; the kids and I are not that careful.”
Tone of Voice
You are not a paranoid, over-protective parent. You are just stating what has happened in your family and the logical decisions you have made since. Do you best not to get defensive! These are all most effective when spoken in a very matter-of-fact tone of voice. Good luck, food allergy parents!