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Fathers and Their Children With Kidney Disease

Father’s Day isn’t just a time when ¬†fathers are acknowledged and appreciated for their paternal roles. As a dad, you can use this special day not just to evaluate your accomplishments but to reflect on your responsibilities. And if your child has been diagnosed with kidney disease, you know you’ll have a few more of those than some other fathers might. But it’s part of being a dad, to help your son or daughter face the disease as well as possible.

One thing you’ll learn quickly is that most things go better when you treat your child with respect, and let them understand and participate in their own care as much as you can. Give them matter-of-fact explanations about the disease, the instruments used in the hospital and doctor’s office, and about what the treatments actually do. This helps remove fear of the unknown. They may still not like the discomforts of the treatments, but their fear will be considerably diminished.

You should naturally learn as much as possible about your child’s disease and condition, and participate in the care as knowledgeably as you can. But there are ways to allow the child to participate too. For example, encourage them to ask any questions that occur to them, and answer clearly, with as much information as they can handle and understand. Give them a chance to ask the doctor about foods they can and can’t eat, or about the best ways to take their medicine. The more in control they feel, the more able they’ll be to deal head-on with their illness and treatments.

Developing a regular routine and sticking to it as much as possible is another way you can help your child deal with kidney disease and its treatments. Even unpleasant moments, like taking medicine, can seem less fearsome if the child knows it will happen at this time of day, matter-of-factly, and then they’ll move on.

You yourself will need to project confidence, so your child has a rock to stand on. If you are constantly worried or project fear, the child will sense it, and their own fear will be magnified. That’s probably your biggest responsibility: to let your son or daughter sense that they can feel safe even when dealing with illness. If you can help your child face kidney disease directly and confidently, you won’t merely deserve one special day of acknowledgement a year, as a father. You’ll deserve a medal of honor.

 

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