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How is the family affected when a child is diagnosed with MS?

When a child is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS), it affects the whole family. MS can make planning for the future difficult, including planning family vacations or financial planning for the child's future.

A common experience in MS families is stress about medication. Sometimes, children resist taking their medication. This can cause tension between their parents, as one parent may take the role of giving the medication, while the other takes the role of protecting the child. For some families, medication time becomes a time of tears and turmoil.

Growing up as a “healthy” child with a sibling who has a chronic illness can also be difficult. The healthy child may feel jealous about the attention their sibling gets. Or, they may feel guilty for being healthy. Healthy siblings may also worry that they, too, will get MS.

Keeping lines of communication open between siblings is important. Children should be allowed to share their worries and hopes. It's natural, in difficult times, to put attention on the child with the most pressing needs. But remember to give time and attention to their siblings, as well. It may be helpful to ask other family members and trusted adults to help when time and energy are limited.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.