Talking About MS With Children And Teens

Sherri Allen was diagnosed with MS in February 2002. She is a mother of two in Surrey, BC, where she lives an active life. Sherri volunteers with the MS peer support program.

Many parents worry about when, what and how, to tell their children about MS. First, it is important that parents are ready to talk about MS. It may not be an easy task but children are perceptive and will notice changes in emotions and physical symptoms. If they don’t know what is causing these changes, they may use their imagination to try to figure it out.

Parents know their children best. What children are told about MS should be positioned in a way that reflects their personality, age and maturity level. Some parents may choose to have an organized ‘family meeting’ and others may allow the subject to come up more naturally after a child has noticed a change in their parent and starts asking questions.

Whether it is a child or a teenager, keeping open communication and encouraging questions and sharing of feelings will lessen many of the fears children may have and will help families better adapt to their new life with MS.