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3 Tips for Food Allergy Parents

3 Tips for Food Allergy Parents

Tips for food allergy parents from a food allergy kid

I remember being a tween and having a huge fight with my mom at a restaurant. I ordered a dessert, they knew about my nut allergy and confirmed it would be safe. What we didn’t mention was my banana allergy, since it was a cake. Lucky me, I was getting the last slice. Needless to say, when it came, it was garnished with banana.

What a total bummer, I rarely get dessert and was overjoyed, then the disappointment hit. My mom tried to diffuse the situation and was only being caring. In my eyes, she was making a big deal about the fact that there was banana on the cake which set me off. In the moment, I believed she felt sorry for me. I remember telling her to stop pitying me: it was furious and mean. My mom got up, gave us money to pay the bill, and left the restaurant. It sucked.

I was pissed that she kept on “making a fuss about the fact that I couldn’t eat something”. I wanted to scream STOP MAKING MY ALLERGIES SUCH A BIG DEAL. Looking back on it now my mom was just looking out for me, and it must have been super stressful to have a kid with such severe allergies. How frustrating it must have been to see excitement turn to disappointment in the blink of an eye and how that damn banana spoiled a perfect mom-daughter luncheon.

As a kid, you don’t realize the strain that your food allergies put on your parents. As parents, you may not understand that kids don’t want to be “special” for the wrong reasons. With this, I wanted to share some tips from my experience as an allergy kid.

3 Tips for Food Allergy Parents

1. Fear is counterproductive

Kids pick up on fear. You may not be aware that you are projecting your fear onto your allergy child and, as a result, are giving them a false sense of anxiety.

It is only natural to be worried about their allergies, but what you don’t want is to make them feel like life is better off in a bubble. Food allergies are manageable and should not be made to fear and control their lives.

2. Don’t micromanage

The worse thing you can do is micromanage your child’s allergies. What are they going to do when they get to school and university? Instead, empower your child. For example, let them start reading labels at an early age so they get used to learning what they can and can’t eat. Teach your kid how to cook for themselves, and how to plan ahead in case they may not have a safe food option.

See Also

I’m gonna drop in a cliché, but I honestly believe that this proverb applies to the way you should handle your kid’s food allergies: “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

3. Let them find their voice

Let your kid be their biggest allergy advocate. Make it their responsibility to talk about their allergies to people. From talking to their friends to ordering at a restaurant, it is important for them to find their voice. Only chime in when it is necessary. I’m really serious about this, the last thing they need is a bunch of people talking for them!

You’ve got this food allergy parents!

What you can do as a food allergy parent is to provide your child with the keys to living a safe and fulfilling life. You can give them the knowledge and strength to be able to successfully navigate their allergies and to prepare them for the future. And remember that they are also dealing with their allergies in their own way. Don’t be afraid to ask them how they are doing, and how you can help them take ownership of their food allergies.

View Comments (4)
  • I have 2 kids with food allergies, ages 8 and 10. I love the advice you gave. I always read the food labels, but I’m definitely going to start teaching them. I like that you are trying to help empower the kids, because after all it is their health. Great read and great advice!

    • Thank your for your feedback. I am happy to hear that you will be including your kids in the food choosing process. I think it will also be great in the long run when they are teens and out with friends. You are giving your kids the tools to live healthy and informed lives with food allergies. 😀

  • Great advice. Thank you for sharing. I am a parent of a food allergic child. Found out he had multiple life threatening allergies at the age of 3. He is now 16. I encouraged him way back to read labels when we were in the supermarket and I also encouraged him to read labels on items I bring home, when he was not with me. That has become his normal now, due to having him read labels when he was old enough to be able to. I have tried unsuccessfully to have him speak to the waiter or waitress when we dine out. We have a food allergy card that lists all of the foods he is allergic to, so that the waiter/waitress can show that to the chef. When I tell my son that he will have to speak up when he’s not with me or when he’s in college he says you do it now, I’ll do it when your not with me! I have gone so far as letting him order and not saying anything and wait to see if he will and he doesn’t, then of course I need to chime in! I don’t know how to handle that. I feel that over the last 13 years we have empowered him and never made him feel “different”. We did what we had to do, but he was never defined by his food allergies. We speak about it openly, as we feel the more people that know, the better off he is. He is very resistant to join any Facebook groups that are only open to juniors & seniors in High school and college students that have food allergies. I think that would be quite good for him to get a feel for the college life with food allergies. He is a mature, responsible young man, but quite stubborn when it comes to certain things! I welcome any advice from anyone. Thank you!

    • Thank you so much for sharing your story. I remember I was very shy about talking to waiters about my food allergies and even now I sometimes opt out of going to a restaurant because I don’t feel like going through “the food allergy dance” with waiters. Chef cards have been a life saver for me and I am super happy to hear you are using them as well.

      I think that with time your son may become more empowered by his allergies. I am not sure if you have seen the documentary by FARE. There is a teen featured that was very inspirational because he creates awareness amongst his friends. Here is a link:

      All the best,

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