Parenting Pitfalls

All parents face two important child-rearing possibilities:

  • Allowing children to mature into either independent or dependent adults
  • Giving children alternatives that encourage either responsible or irresponsible behavior

It may be easy for you to hover and place excessive limits on your child’s activities because he has a heart problem. Overprotection is a term used to describe this situation. Overprotection will interfere with your child’s emotional growth, especially his ability to become independent. To foster independence, you must gauge your parenting style to avoid overprotection. An adolescent or young adult with heart disease will experience difficulties in adapting to life if he is a dependent, clingy person. Parents are the first line of defense in helping each other avoid overprotective tendencies. Other family members and professionals can be additional sources of help.

Any chronic childhood illness brings a special need for both the parents and the sick child to be more responsible. Children with a chronic heart condition need to be more responsible than healthy children because of their future medical needs and the difficulties they may encounter from employers and others. This sense of responsibility needs to be taught early. It also needs to encompass a wide range of issues, particularly those related to health. You can help your child learn responsibility by using discipline that is kind, firm and consistent. This type of discipline makes it easier for your child to become a well-adjusted adult.