Living With Psoriatic Arthritis: How to Find Pride as a Parentby Tracy Davenport, Ph.D. Health Writer
Parenting is a tough job for almost all of us. If you have psoriatic arthritis, you may sometimes feel that your condition is preventing you from being a good parent. However, you should feel proud of the valuable life lessons you are teaching your children every day as you manage your condition.
You’re teaching them how to navigate our complex medical system.
The healthcare system in the United States is not exactly a system, but rather a series of healthcare providers who are often not very connected. The system is also not very even, meaning that there are some really good providers but also some who are not. Gathering the best information about your condition and building the best team requires patience and coordination. Your children will eventually need these skills in order to navigate the healthcare system for themselves, so observing you is a great way to learn.
They’ll gain empathy for people living with chronic pain.
In a survey of more than 35,000 participants in the United States, almost one third were in chronic pain. The prevalence was even higher for females. While you may sometimes feel isolated in your condition, you are by no means alone in what you are experiencing. Your child will grow up knowing that many are living in chronic pain and it is no fault of their own.
They’ll see that you can become bitter or better based on your attitude.
When you are not feeling well, it is easy to focus on the negative aspects of life. However, when you get up every day with the best outlook possible, you are showing your child that while we cannot change our condition, we can change our reaction to it.
You’ll show them we can’t do this life alone.
Living with a chronic condition requires a lot of support from friends and family, especially during a flare-up. As you rely on other people to help you, you are modeling for your child how to build a network and ask for help when you need it.
You are modeling different ways to feel better.
There is rarely one treatment that works the same for each person. As your condition changes, you may even choose different treatments for the same disease. Showing your child that there are many different ways to approach healing is a lesson they will hold on to for a lifetime.
You’re teaching research skills
Living with psoriatic arthritis requires keeping up with the latest information about the condition. You should be proud to know that when you research, your child is learning that even when school is over, we need to continually read, grow and stay up to date. We never stop learning.
They’ll know we all have our limits.
It is important that children understand that each of us has personal limits, both physical and emotional. Communicating your limits to those around you is not a sign of weakness. Rather, your communications will help empower your children to speak up about their own limitations to others.
Your children will feel capable.
If you are having a flare-up and are unable to help your child for the day, you will teach your child independence and self-confidence. For example, if you have reached your physical limit and are unable to bake cupcakes for the school party, having your child make the cupcakes with instruction from you will give him a sense of pride and accomplishment. Your child will also know that you believe in his abilities, even if the cupcakes do not come out perfectly.
You’re modeling perseverance.
Life is full of difficulties. We must move ahead in spite of obstacles. Before long, your child will be an adult and will look back on what you were able to accomplish each week in spite of your condition. You should feel proud to know that your child will use much of what he learned from watching you to navigate his own life’s obstacles.
Remember: There is no perfect way to parent.
With or without a chronic condition, there are many different ways to parent successfully. Around the world, there are many parents who are not attending every one of their children’s soccer games yet are still raising wonderful adults. We sometimes let a very limited cultural viewpoint set our parental expectations. You should feel proud if you are providing basic needs for your child, such as food, medical care, clothing, etc., as well as giving love, understanding, and support.