Food Allergies: Understanding the Impact on the Family

Recently I read an article by a mother who was frustrated with having to worry about food allergies when sending treats to school with her son, who does not have any food allergies.  She said that parents are a bit ‘nutty’ when it comes to food allergies.  Screen Shot 2013-05-16 at 9.47.18 AM

At first the article enraged me, I was all “how dare she trivialize a parent’s concern for their child’s health”.  I was going to comment on the article right then and there, but the calmer more rational side of my brain said no wait until you have simmered down.

It occurred to me this mother had no clue when it came to food allergies and she has even less of a clue how scary food allergies are for parents and how they impact their lives.  I sincerely hope after reading all the comments on her article she takes the time to ask more questions and learn instead of judging and feeling put upon when sending treats to her son’s school.

First things first

So here are some of my thoughts.  First I don’t believe school is an appropriate place where ‘treats’ in the form of food should be allowed.  In this era of diversity, prevalence of food allergies and different views on nutrition it is just opening up a big ole can of worms.  I want my child to learn at school not eat (well besides their lunches).  I have studied children’s nutrition since my kids were babies and I had a very strong view of not giving my kids high sugary snacks like candy etc.  My son’s grade one teacher used to give lollipops as rewards.  This dismayed me so I bought a bunch of coloured pencils, erasers in fun shapes and stickers and asked him if instead of candy could these be used.  He was on-board so it worked but if he hadn’t been I am not really sure what I would have done.

Second: We Need to be Sensitive 

Second we all need to be a bit more sensitive to the struggles of others.  It is easy to dismiss the concerns of parents when they don’t align with your beliefs.  I will always respect a parent for doing what they believe is best for their child, after all no one knows their child like a parent.  I may have different beliefs and I will do what is best for my children but it is none of my business what another parent does with their child.  No one has our life experience so not understanding what another parent is going through or has been through does not give us the right to judge.  When my oldest son was born I carried him around everywhere, he slept with me, rode around in a ‘snuggly’ even when I did the dishes.  My mother-in-law chastised me constantly for it.  “Put that baby down, you don’t have to have him attached to you 24/7” she would say.  Something she didn’t know was my cousin lost her baby to SIDS a year before and it completely freaked me out.  I was gripped by fear every time I tried to put him down.  It affected me deeply, something that no one on the outside could have understood, I just looked slightly nuts to everyone looking in.

In Conclusion

In an effort to help others understand just what it might be like for families affected by food allergies we are working on an article where we have interviewed several families discussing what it is like for them.  If you would like to be part of it, email us at and we will send you the information.



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