Helping ill teens cope

March 12, 1991|By Gerri Kobren

Chronically ill adolescents have some special problems, and some concerns that are common to all teens. To help them cope on both levels, experts in their care offer the following tips:

*To foster independence:

"We try to encourage kids at 14 or 15 to make their own appointments, to be responsible for their own medications, to come . . . see the doctor without the parent in the room," says Dr. Marianne Felice, director of adolescent medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

*To provide emotional support:

"Telling the child, 'Keep a stiff upper lip,' and 'Let's move forward,' and 'Be cheerful' or 'Think positive,'isn't support; that's shutting him up, cutting him off in a way that only seems positive." warns Dr. Leon Rosenberg, psychologist in the Hopkins Children's Center.

It's more helpful, he says, to listen to what the child is worried about and help the youngster understand what is reasonable and what is not.

*To help the child in school:

"If you have a child with special problems, you have to negotiate with the school to bend the rules. That doesn't mean you have to tell the school what to do; if you tell them what the problem is, they can help you design ways to maneuver," Dr. Rosenberg says.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.