Dear Parent, are you overwhelmed with your child’s Celiac diagnosis? While doctors may tell you what gluten is, they don’t always tell you how to navigate this lifestyle. Today I’m offering 6 gentle reminders for this journey.
Who Am I to Give Parenting Advice?
I have no children. Therefore it may seem odd that I’m writing a post trying to encourage parents. I have, however, listened to many parents with concerns and burdened hearts. In addition, I’ve been blessed to run a gluten free camp, and see firsthand how children have thrived and grown despite their Celiac Disease diagnosis.
Living with Celiac Disease is a fine line between trying to get people to take our health seriously, while also not allowing it to hold us back from living a full life. It’s hard enough as an adult, and even harder to explain to our children. Hopefully this post can encourage you and your kids that a gluten free life can be a good, eventful life.
Dear Celiac Parent, this is not your fault.
Celiac Disease is genetic. And often I see parents who feel guilty, awful that they passed on this disease to their child. And while I can’t tell you how to feel, please hear me say that this is NOT your fault. We know 30% of the population carry these genes, but only 1% develop Celiac Disease. We have no idea why I have Celiac Disease, but my sister doesn’t. There is nothing you did to cause this, and nothing you failed to do to prevent it. Be kind to yourself.
Dear Celiac Parent, one day your child will thank you
Living with Celiac Disease as a child is difficult. It may make them feel anxious and frustrate. They may feel they had to grow up way too fast. But one day, they will thank you for trusting your hunch that something was wrong. That you fought for a diagnosis and never gave up. One day they will understand that by gettting diagnosed young, they avoided years of unexplained symptoms.
Dear Celiac Parent, you will make mistakes.
Just allow yourself the grace to know this now. You will obviously try your hardest to make sure that your child never ingests gluten. But we’re human. Mistakes happen. And you’ll do all that you can to make your kid feel better. You are not awful or careless. You’re human, and you’re learning. And your child is learning how to react to mistakes by how you handle them.
Dear Celiac Parent, empower kids to manage their own diet
Parents want to shield their kids from pain. That’s natural. However, at some point, your kids will leave the house. Whether it’s grabbing something to eat with high school friends. Or totally on their own after they graduate. They need to learn how to keep themselves safe, and they need to see that you trust them to make good decisions.
Dear Celiac Parent, it will get easier.
When your child receives a Celiac Disease diagnosis, it can be overwhelming. Removing any and all gluten from one’s diet is no quick and simple task. You’ll likely feel overwhelmed. Not sure who to trust. But with time, you will. You will become a better gluten free chef and baker. Your kid will find gluten free products they love. It. Does. Get Better.
Dear Celiac Parent, being included doesn’t have to mean “same.”
Unfortunately, there are times where our kids won’t be able to eat the same things as every one else. Sometimes that means we bring a treat. Or do something special at home. My friend, whose two daughters have Celiac Disease said, “They won’t always have the same food. As long as they enjoy the food they are having; that’s all that matters.” Ask your child what inclusion means to them.
Other helpful resources for parents whose children have Celiac Disease
- Children’s Books that Explain Celiac Disease
- Brands of Gluten Free Playdough
- Top 8 Allergen Free Snacks
- Gluten Free Mason Jar Cupcakes to Go
- Celiac Mama’s Guide to Gluten Free at School
- Raising Our Celiac Kids
- Save 10% on Little GF Chefs Baking Kits with code MIGFGAL
Do you have a child with Celiac Disease? What would you tell a fellow parent?
What encouragement do you wish was shared with you at the time of their diagnosis?