Family health is almost always focused on children. Countless articles, books, and other media presenting tips and advice for kids’ health are everywhere. Of course, we’re not complaining; children are the most priceless treasures of parents, so much so that they’d rather their neglect their own health if that means their kids will be healthier. But if their devotion causes them to fall ill, how will they care for the kids?
Health is very crucial these days, with a long-running pandemic upon us. Given that one parent is usually the one in-charge of grocery runs and other errands, they might be bringing the virus home. But that’s not the only concerning scenario. Even under normal circumstances, health issues exist in every family. And sometimes, it’s the parents that are more at risk than the children.
How Sick Parents Handle Their Kids
When you’re down with a fever, you obviously can’t go about your day as usual, and your kid will be left to themselves for most of the day. Some parents devised tricks to keep their kids entertained even without their active participation. One mom kept a stash of toys that she only brought out on rare occasions, including her being ill, so that her child would become too excited to notice that she was indisposed.
Plenty of moms employ old tactics like playing doctor-and-patient with their kid. That way they can have them close while lying comfortably in bed. The kids may even enjoy it, for once assuming the role of their mothers and being the one who reads them stories, sings them songs, and tucks them in.
These tricks have proven effective because the parents were still able to fulfill their duties even when they’re unwell. But in the digital age, some parents might be unable to pull the same tricks.
TV and smartphone addiction is becoming a pandemic in children. Experts have found that one in four kids has “problematic smartphone use”, and this behavior is associated with poorer mental health.
Some parents combat an impending addiction by using the reward system, in which TV time will be the reward for following rules. Parents who are sick benefit from this, because their kids have been conditioned to play with their toys or their siblings first before turning on the TV. As a result, they can focus on resting while their kids simply do what they’ve been trained to do.
However, the fact that gadget use has to involve strict rules indicates if parents aren’t available the whole day, children might abuse their absence and go full zombie. And if the parent is sick, and won’t be able to do much; sometimes, their only choice to is to leave the kid with the phone, so that they could get some rest and recover.
The Case for Parents With a Serious Illness
A fever, as long as it isn’t flu, COVID-19, or anything serious, is easily manageable. One whole day of rest may be enough for the parent to function normally again. But if it’s something serious, long-term, or worse, terminal, then things might never be the same again. It will leave a lasting impact on their parenting style.
They might have to hire a caregiver. Usually, parents enlist a trusted friend or relative. Those who have contracted COVID-19 figure that friends or relatives who have already caught the virus and recovered are the ideal caregivers because theoretically, they would already have a degree of immunity. But of course, this isn’t realistic for most parents, so they’d settle for a healthy neighbor.
Fathers who get seriously ill will also affect the children. According to research, fathers are vitally important for their kids’ health, especially in their eating habits. A Guelph Family Health Study found that modeling by fathers, but not mothers, of healthy food consumption were linked with a healthier diet among their children. Hence, it’s safe to assume that if fathers live by unhealthy habits, their children will likely inherit it. Worse, if a chronic disease like prostate cancer runs in the family, fathers and sons may develop it earlier in their lives.
Knowing Your Family Medical History: A Key to Preventing Serious Illness
Families share many common factors, including genes, environment, and lifestyle. These factors can present clues to hereditary medical conditions. By noticing the patterns of diseases among your family, including your relatives, doctors can determine whether you, your siblings, and children, are potentially at risk of developing a particular condition.
However, a family history of a certain disease doesn’t automatically indicate that you’d eventually have that disease. Likewise, having no family history of a certain disease doesn’t guarantee that you’d stay healthy all throughout your life. Hence, it’s crucial to know the health concerns that potentially run in your family, so that you can take preventive measures early on.
By being models of good health to your kids, you’d reduce your risk of developing diseases, and be able to thoroughly care for your kids for as long as they’d need it.