Dealing with chronic pain alone must be stressful, but being a parent on top of that must make it almost unbearable. I’m extremely grateful and lucky enough to have never experienced chronic pain, but after reading an interesting article from the Atlantic on how chronic pain can affect parenting, it breaks my heart for parents who DO suffer from it.
How Does Living With Chronic Pain Affect Kids?
The article dives into the author’s experience with living with chronic pain and references several studies on just how much chronic pain affects your relationship with your children. The first study that was referenced, which was published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing by experts from Kent State University, showed that children suffer when their parents suffer from chronic pain. According to the results, children with parents who suffer from chronic pain are at risk for adjustment problems, behavioral issues, and are more likely themselves to complain about pain. In the other referenced study, which was published in the Journal of Nursing Scholarship, children found that their parents were more likely to be uninvolved and physically, emotionally, and were more likely to be hostile, irritable, or unpredictable.
As I mentioned previously, I can’t speak directly from experience; I had back pain earlier in my life before I had children, but I can’t say that it was anything like what chronic pain sufferers experience. Even when I don’t feel well or if I’m not 100 percent myself, I can tell that I become more irritable, I start to lose my patience, and I become less responsive to my children’s needs. The author of this article seems like a truly amazing person who wants to be at her best for her children, and it’s heartbreaking to hear that she can’t always do that.
Parents, have any of you ever dealt with chronic pain? How do you cope? Please weigh in on the issue by leaving a comment and sharing your experiences and advice.
We all want to be great parents and not yell or become irritated with our kids, but when we aren’t feeling like ourselves, that can be extremely difficult to do. No parent should have to live with chronic pain, and no child should have to suffer as a result of it.