Back when We Turned Out Okay turned 2, I asked you all for a gift: your questions!
Today I’m answering one of those questions, listener Caroline’s about how to deal with medical issues in your child, and expanding out from “medical” advocacy by sharing, in the second half of today’s episode, about how to advocate in other aspects of your child’s life.
I am so happy to bring back medical ethicist Dr. Art Caplan to address Caroline’s question, “Could you possibly give some advice about dealing with stressful situations in general and medical stuff, i.e. advocating for your child?”
Art outlines four key steps that parents can take when confronted with a child’s illness, and in looking back I realized that those same steps would be wonderful when trying to advocate for kids in a variety of situations, socially, educationally, in addition to medically.
For an outline of these four steps to advocating for your child and related key links, go to weturnedoutokay.com/182!
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Today’s episode is going to be so helpful for you, as you think about advocating for your child.
Lots of times we parents can feel helpless in the face of something potentially harmful – or actually harmful – to our children. It can be really tough to know what to do, or where to go for help, and that’s what today’s conversation gets to the heart of!
So without further ado, here are medical ethicist Art Caplan’s 4 ways to advocate for your child:
1) Use the Internet
– Search for patient advocacy groups online with a medical concern, and search for groups of parents supporting each other with whatever issue your child is dealing with if it is non-medical (such as bullying, or making friends, or learning to read…)
2) Ask Questions
– as Big Bird always says, “asking questions is a great way of finding something out!”
Whether the situation is medical or otherwise, talking to other parents, teachers or doctors, reading books about the issue and then following up with the authors of those books; there are many people to whom we can direct our questions.
3) Find the biggest local university-affiliated pediatric teaching hospital you can
– Art recommends this for medical issues, but as you’ll hear I am ambivalent about this one with other areas of a child’s life.
On the one hand, advice from experts can be really helpful; on the other hand relying on an expert when there’s no need can be damaging for life, because our kids – and us – learn the false lesson that we cannot rely on ourselves.
So, take this one with a grain of salt! And get in touch if you need help figuring out which way to go : )
4) Find Parents with These Same Problems Off-Line
– Sometimes nothing but face-to-face conversation will do.
Being part of a group of parents who all have the same issue as you do mean many more ideas as you’re working to come up with a solution!
Listen to my original conversation with Dr. Art Caplan, which I found so valuable at the time that I took actual notes while we spoke, here.
Click here to download the PDF of my Guide to Happy Readers.
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