-Keep your child home.
-It’s not my responsibility.
-We shouldn’t have to cater to others because of weird stuff they are allergic to.
-How about teaching the allergy sufferer to say “no”? Why is the onus always on the majority?
-If your kid has contact allergies put them in a glass bubble.
-Food allergies have become trendy.
Wow. Believe it or not, these are real comments to a recent Facebook post by a food allergy mom. Pretty painful.
The fact is that food allergy parents cannot protect their children without help and cooperation from those around them—even strangers. When our children are home in our care, my wife and I can keep them safe. But children with food allergies are at risk 24/7 and the majority of the time they are out of our homes and out of our care. How can our food allergy community avoid comments like those above? How can we build awareness and foster cooperation? Why do otherwise seemingly very nice and caring people sometimes react the way these folks did to this Facebook post?
My four oldest kids did not have food allergies and now three out of my last four do (we just found out about our third)…so I kind of know both sides. Sure, food allergies are more prevalent and known today than ever before, but I don’t think the pace of food allergy education has kept up with its explosive growth. So for starters, I feel we need to keep getting the message out that food allergies is a worldwide crisis and only getting worse. But as we educate, we need to keep a respectful, non-lecturing tone. Most people “get it” once they are educated, but if we are condescending when we speak then we may lose them at “hello”. I elaborated on some of these points in a recent guest blog for The Abundant Kitchen.
Here’s the Facebook post I was referring to. What do you think of this mom’s approach? What advice can you offer to help get more people on board with the growing food allergy problem?