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When Your Kids Are Chronically Ill

There is no worse feeling for a parent than watching your child suffer and feeling helpless to do anything. ME/CFS, fibromyalgia, and Lyme disease and other tick infections affect many millions of children, teens, and young adults and are even more devastating in a young person. As a parent, seeing your once vibrant and energetic child suddenly – and chronically – unable to get out of bed and lacking the energy to play or go to school is horrifying.

The parents in our Facebook group, Parents of Kids and Teens with ME/CFS and Related Illnesses*, say they struggle with countless challenges, including guilt (that constant parenting companion!), feeling overwhelmed, and sadness and loss over what their child is missing. Of course, they are also concerned about their children’s emotional states – how their sick kids are coping, their sense of loss and grief, and very often, depression. Here are some tips on what to do and how to cope, from parents who’ve been through it.

Help Your Child Medically

Coping Strategies for Parents

Coping Strategies for Sick Kids, Teens, and Young Adults

Life with a sick child is not easy, but it can be rewarding and full of joy. Find ways to encourage your child’s interests, keep him or her connected to others, and create an environment of warmth and comfort. And don’t forget about your needs, too! Living with sick kids (and a sick parent) actually brought us closer as a family. Accept your child’s limitations and find your new normal, while continuing to search for treatments and hope for a better tomorrow.

* Parents of Kids and Teens with ME/CFS and Related Illnesses [1]. Membership is confirmed through Facebook messaging, so please check your messages after you request membership.


Suzan Jackson, a frequent ProHealth contributor, is a freelance writer who has had ME/CFS for 15 years and also has Lyme disease. Both of her sons also got ME/CFS 13 years ago, but one is now fully recovered after 10 years of illness and the other is in college, still with ME/CFS plus three tick-borne infections. She writes two blogs: Living with ME/CFS at http://livewithcfs.blogspot.com [2] and Book By Book at http://bookbybook.blogspot.com [3]. You can follow her on Twitter at @livewithmecfs.