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Food Allergy Real Talk: Why it’s ok for your allergic kid to be left out once in a while

Food Allergy Real Talk: Why it’s ok for your allergic kid to be left out once in a while

Why it's ok to be left out once in a while because of food allergies

Let me preface this post by saying that allergy parents are the best. If you think parenting is hard, imagine how hard parenting an allergic child must be. Us allergy kiddos don’t make it easy either; we can be moody, we can be picky when we shouldn’t be, and we don’t like our allergies to be the focus of e-v-e-r-y-thing!

Now for the I-was-an-allergy-kid-once real talk. Parents, it is ok for your child to be the only one not eating cake at the birthday party once in a while.

Why it’s ok to be left out

Lately, I’ve had some serious smoothie envy. I have OAS, which means I can’t eat a lot of raw fruit and veggies. I also have a tree nut allergy. This means going to the local juicery for an epic smoothie is just not possible. There have been many occasions where I would be staring at my hubby’s beautiful smoothies and could feel my whole face turn green with envy. But I deal with it, remind myself you can’t have everything, have a few grumpy minutes, and move on. It’s only food after all, and I can make my own green smoothie at home!

What I’m saying is your kid is going to experience a lot of times in their life where they won’t be able to do something because of their allergies. That’s just the reality of food allergies. Sometimes a night out isn’t possible because the bar everyone wants to go has peanut shells all over the ground, or you can’t try the hot new food trend because it’s all based on eating legumes, or your friend has a birthday party, and the cake contains almond.

We have to learn that because of our allergies we need to be flexible and it’s ok not to participate in everything. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I’ve gone out to eat with friends and just had a drink. You need to protect your kids from feeling left out, but you also need to prepare them for those times where they won’t be able to join in – giving them the tools to be ok as a bystander. Trust me these moments come up a lot when your an adult.

I see all the amazing things allergy parents do and can only admire the love you have for your kids. Who knows, I may be an allergy parent one day too and will be taking a page out of all your books. ☺️ From one allergy kid to an allergy parent we appreciate what you do, and it’s important to let us learn that our allergies mean we may need to sit out the next round.

View Comments (12)
    • Totally Rebecca! There are so many recipes that have come out of this. I think food allergies make us resourceful 😀

  • Love this! I don’t have food allergies but my youngest of 3 does. He has felt left out many of times, but so have my 2 (without allergies). You protect them, let them know they’re loved and teach them how to be strong, independant, adaptive and roll with the punches.

    • Thanks Nicole. Teaching them to be strong is the greatest gift you can give your child, whether they have allergies or not. The great thing about allergic kids is their ability to be adaptable and stay positive.

  • I think it’s awesome that you have written about this side of it. Food allergy parents have it really rough, and I think the idea of any type of suffering with their kid is hard to take. But you bring up an essential point that is so important. And really, food or otherwise, there are times in life when every person is left out. It’s just the way things are!

  • Kortney- First of all , thank you so much for all the love you give to us allergy parents in this post. As an allergy mom I can tell you how hard it is to navigate your child’s safety daily but what is definitely just as hard is navigating all of the social interactions around food. We hope for our world to be better about including all of us, however, it is just not the reality. I do think it is important to model behavior that shows our children that it is ok to not be included. We can feel disappointment and express it but then we must move on from it. Our kids are strong because of their challenges but I hope that it does not solely define who they are. There are still so many wonderful experiences to be had. And in the end, I hope they learn that they can make that smoothie so much better than any store bought/restaurant one! Thanks for sharing

    • Shahla, you are so right! It is about giving your girls the ability to feel disappointed, but know how to come out of that situation a bigger and better person. Having food allergies throws a lot at you, but these challenges are excellent character builders and I don’t think that this will solely define who they are. 😀

  • Thank you Kortney for this excellent post. I really needed to hear this! As an allergy parent, watching my son left on the sidelines because of his allergies was heartbreaking. As he grew older though, he showed and told me that he was ok with it, that it wasn’t the end of the world for him, that birthday parties are just as fun without the cake…. Yes, I’ve heard everything that you have written here from him, but it helps tremendously to hear it from someone else other than him. Thank you!

  • Great post Kortney. I think there’s such a difficult balance for us all to find between fighting for inclusion so nurseries, schools etc. don’t think it’s OK to just leave the allergy kids out, and also being realistic. J is only 4 but has already been left out at almost every picnic, party or meal he has been to as he can never have the cake or most the other food. You’re right, he has to learn to accept this and it’s important to always talk to them about what’s happening and how to deal with it. (Plus he’s always happy with an emergency Oreo!) It’s great to see things from the perspective of someone who has successfully grown up and navigated the world with multiple allergies. Thanks for sharing xx

    • Thanks Emma, it hurts my heart to hear how many times J has been left out. There is a fine balance of including and learning how to be left out. You are so right about talking to him, he needs to be empowered by his allergies and this is what defines how he feels when learning to deal with situations where he will be on the sidelines.

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