Whether they’re minor or severe, food allergies and aversions can be threatening to a child’s safety or health. Any child with serious allergies, and their parents, know how important it is to keep them protected from anything that can trigger an allergic reaction. If that means changing the whole family’s diet or shopping for exclusively allergen-free products, families will often make changes in their habits to make sure that kids are kept healthy and are able to avoid irritants.
However, plenty of people are ignorant and insensitive to those who suffer incredibly serious, even life-threatening, allergies to certain foods. And unfortunately, when people lack understanding, they tend to make not-so-nice comments to parents of kids with food allergies. We can all do better to understand what these families deal with on a daily basis. Here is a list of 10 things you should never say to a mom of a child with allergies:
1. “I’m sorry.” For what? No apologies are necessary.
2. “She’ll grow out of it.” Actually, sorry to break it to you, but this isn’t just a phase. She won’t wake up one day and suddenly be clear.
3. “A little bit won’t hurt.” Seriously, have you never seen what happens during an allergic reaction? Breakouts, nasal congestion, and breathing difficulties are not painless.
4. “He is just too picky.” There’s a lil-bit-o’-difference between not liking a food and not being able to eat it.
5. “How can a child ever go without [X item]? That’s just mean!” The child will be absolutely fine without melons, peanuts, and broccoli. And moms aren’t being mean by not giving the child the restricted foods. Hint: they’re actually saving them.
6. “It’s your fault that he is allergic to all those things.” Yes, some allergies are genetic, but it is not a parent’s fault that a child has developed an allergy. Let’s be serious here.
7. “Keep your son home during holiday parties so my kid and the other kids can enjoy the party and eat what they want!” You must be joking. Your child can’t go one day without a PB&J sandwich?! I think you can find plenty of alternate holiday foods that don’t contain items that’ll actually harm children.
8. “If you give him tiny bits over time, he’ll build up a tolerance for it!” Yeah, that’s not how that works …
9. “Are you sure she has allergies? No one in our family has allergies.” No, you’re right. All the doctor tests and the overwhelming reactions to very particular items are just fake because allergies only come from the family tree.
10. “I’m glad I was blessed with a ‘healthy’ child.” First of all, children who have allergies are not ‘unhealthy,’ and they’re not ‘sick.’ Second of all, congratulations, you’re so #blessed.
Does your child have allergies? What’s the craziest thing anyone’s ever said to you?