Mental Health and Food Allergy Bullying

Food allergy management is stressful, overwhelming and isolating. Yes, we said it. You, as a parent, must take care of yourself and be on the lookout for the mental health of your child. We also know kids can be jerks and food allergy bullying happens to one in three kids with food allergies. So here is a quick overview. Be sure to scroll to the bottom for our recommended resources if you want to pursue this further.

What are normal vs. abnormal emotions for you and your child?
We get it. A new food allergy is a lot to process. You or your child probably feel all or some of these things: frustrated, worried, angry, confused, uncertain, scared, sad. And you know what? That is totally normal.

An emotion is abnormal when it is constant, debilitating, irrational. If you are concerned about yourself or your child here is list of hotlines where you can talk to a peer in confidence, find mental health treatment and more.

What are some coping strategies you can use when you feel stressed?

  • Close your eyes and count to 10
  • Take a deep breath
  • Accept it is what it is, but you can control your reactions
  • Write down when you feel anxious or depressed to understand what triggers those feelings. Knowing yourself is very powerful and helps you be resilient.

What does self care look like?

Now this is a great question! For some, like Melissa, self care is alone time! For Maria, she needs her friends. Some of our favorites are:

  • Take a hot bath after the kids have gone to bed
  • Go for a walk, or take a spin class with your crew
  • Meet your friends for dinner or a movie
  • Watch that movie you’ve been meaning to watch
  • Go to bed early
  • Ask your partner to take care of dinner and bedtime
  • Be self aware. Ask for help when you need it.

As a parent you can support your child with a food allergy by doing these things:

  • Support your child with positive encouragement. You both can do this.
  • Make sure your child understands his or her food allergy.
  • Be age appropriate in your approach to food allergy management. You will hand it over in time!
  • Encourage communication and honesty
  • Give your child private time with medical professionals
    Try to find support groups so that your child can meet other kids with food allergies

Food Allergy Bullies

They are out there at all ages, and they suck.

What to do if there is a food allergy bully?

Talk to other adults about the situation, calmly. These can be teachers or other parents. Does your school have a bullying policy? Try to track that down. Tell your child to avoid the bully if that is possible. Some bullies are put off if your child is in a group. Tell your child to use the buddy system.

After your child is bullied it is important he or she regains confidence. Do something where your feels safe and supported, like a club activity or hangout with friends.

You can do this!
Remember you are constantly modeling behavior. Be the person you want your child to mimic, or at least keep your outbursts, breakdowns, and big sighs private. We all have them!