As a mom, when my son was first diagnosed (at 18 months of age) I went through a period of adjusting the expectations that I had for my son's future. I was sad that my son would have the challenge of the gluten free diet to deal with for the rest of his life. I feared that he would always feel different and that would be an issue that was difficult for him. I thought about what it would be like for him growing up gluten free -- having to bring his own food to birthday parties, trick-or-treating on Halloween, taking food to friends' houses and all of the other times that he would not be eating what everyone else was eating. I thought about college parties -- where beer was the only thing served (I'm not the type of parent to think that my teenager would be above these temptations.) I thought about when he grew up and was going out on a date. He would have to pick a special place to eat. Fortunately, five years into being the parent of a gluten free child, I can honestly say that the challenges of his first 6 years on a gluten free diet were truly not that big of a deal. And, I'm optimistic that the future gluten free challenges that I worried about when he was first diagnosed will be the same. My son usually doesn't care that he eats differently. Sometimes, when I can tell he's sad that he can't have something (usually, when I didn't know that dessert or goodies were being served somewhere), I just ask him if he would like to go out for ice cream on the way home or stop at the store to buy a piece of candy. This usually helps. Also, I'm pretty sure that he uses Celiac disease to his advantage -- he loves being able to say to a friend's parent or a teacher, "Sorry, I cannot have that [insert the name of any healthy food that he doesn't like here i.e. cucumbers, broccoli, etc...], because it may contain gluten or have touched gluten." Sometimes there is a silver lining. I'm realistic that this will not always be the case. However, given the way that things have gone for him over the first six years, I know that we'll be able to help him deal with the tough times.
Submitted on Jul 17, 2012 - Category: Celiac Parenting
As one of the founders of Gluten Free Grapevine, I'm excited to connect with others to share tips and advice about gluten free restaurants, cooking, parenting and more. My husband and son both have Celiac Disease and have been gluten free for about 7 years. We're about 99% gluten free at home -- sometimes we have regular burger buns, hot dog buns or pizza when we have lots of kids over for dinner.