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Talking to Your Family About Multiple Sclerosis

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Common Questions Children Have About Multiple Sclerosis

1. If you have multiple sclerosis, does that mean I'll get it?
Unlikely. MS is not passed directly from parents to children, although it is possible for more than one family member to have MS.

2. Will your symptoms get worse?
Everyone's experience with MS is different. A person's MS can get better, worse, or stay the same.

3. Why is there no cure?
The cause of MS is still not known. Scientists need to discover the cause first and then they can work on developing a cure.
 

Helping Children Cope With Your Multiple Sclerosis

Find someone else your child can talk to about multiple sclerosis. Remember that you are not alone. You do not have to be the only person your child talks to about MS. Developing a trusting relationship with a friend or family member can be both helpful and healthy for children.

Share how you are feeling, both physically and emotionally. Talk to your child. Do not be afraid to start the conversation. Children appreciate it when you open the door.

Conduct open and honest discussions. Keep the door open. Children are not always ready to talk. Let your child know that you will be available if he or she has something to discuss. Allow your child to feel whatever emotion he or she is experiencing. Help your child to manage his or her emotions. Do not try to change what he or she is feeling.

Include your child in family decisions. Whether you're divvying up the household chores or going to the hospital for treatment, it is important to involve your child in some decisions. It will give your child a sense of control and belonging.

Seek professional help if you need it. There are many counselors and support groups that can help your family adjust to the changes that are occurring.

How Can I Help my Family Cope With Multiple Sclerosis?

  • Explain multiple sclerosis to those around you, including your children, extended family, friends, and coworkers.
  • Set realistic expectations and goals.
  • Get help, not only emotionally but also physically. If you are having trouble fulfilling certain tasks, ask for assistance.
  • Explore financial resources.
  • Find new activities that allow you, your spouse, and your family to spend time together.
  • Identify new ways to be intimate with your spouse if you are having emotional or physical difficulties with sexual activity.
  • Work closely with your healthcare team and stay educated about your illness.
  • Reassure each family member of his or her importance.

 

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Richard Senelick, MD on August 31, 2012
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