Life with Food Allergies: Being Left Out

Being left out of anything for any reason generally doesn’t feel too good.  As adults, we learn to deal with such disappointment, but it still hurts.  For a child, being left out just down right hurts and not much makes you feel better.

I have to be honest and tell you that there have been times that my son has been left out while in my presence.  I try really hard to keep him included by making special treats for the classroom more often than other moms.  Or by bringing similar treats to birthday parties that the other kids are having.  Or remaining at birthday parties to ensure his safety when I could have been doing a dozen other things.  Or having more play dates at my house than he is invited to other children’s homes.  But not always.  I have failed him more than once.  It hurts to see the hurt in him and to know that I’m the reason for it.  Either I didn’t plan ahead or I forgot or I’m even ashamed to say, I didn’t want to mess with it.

How to prevent your child from being left out because of food allergies:

  1. It’s not going to always happen 100% of time that your child will be included.  It just doesn’t always work out that way.  Give yourself some grace and try to teach your child the act of forgiveness and contentment even in sadness.
  2. Plan ahead.  If there is a birthday party coming up, make sure you have a similar treat for your child.
  3. Make sacrifices, mostly with your time.  Be prepared to stay at a birthday party or to take more than your fair share of field trips, play dates, and school party treats.  Spend some extra time in the kitchen making safe food.
  4. Educate others.  Your child does not have an infectious disease.  As long as you and your child take proper precautions, everything should be just fine.  Don’t allow others to treat your child as a social piranha, both other children and adults.
  5. If your child is inadvertently left out of something special, try to make it up to him/her at another time.
  6. If you make your child feel special and important, chances are that he will forgive you when you slip up.  If you exclude your child or allow him to be left out time after time, you’re hurting your child and yourself.
  7. There is now and may always be something “different” about your child.  That is a fact.  Face it, deal with it, and move on.  Don’t allow yourself to succumb to resentment and depression.
  8. Although so much of our society revolves around food, that doesn’t mean that your life has to revolve around it.  We should be eating to survive, not as another hobby or sport.
  9. Finally, as long as you have done your best to prepare your child for the big bad world out there, your child will be fine.  Teach him/her the necessary precautions and how to deal with the emotional/social reactions to difficult situations, and leave the rest to hope and faith in a positive outcome.  Worrying never gets us very far!

I may not have hit on how to deal with being left out because of food allergies the way you would, but I hope I’ve given you some tips to move along with this sometimes difficult situation.

What are some ways that you deal with being left out because of food allergies, either personally or your child?

We’re coming to the end of the Life with Food Allergies series, with only a few weeks left.  If you’ve missed any of the topics in this series, I encourage you to click on the link in the precious sentence or on the graphic in the sidebar.  Next week, we’ll cover another difficult issue: Your school being unsupportive of food allergies.

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4 Responses to Life with Food Allergies: Being Left Out

  1. Mari says:

    If I’m going out to a restaurant, I make sure I take something with me that I can eat in case I don’t see anything on the menu that I could eat, and then I just have to order a beverage. Most of the time though, since we go to ethnic restaurants, it isn’t a problem finding something on the menu I can eat. My children are grown now, but only one of them actually stocks the house with things I can eat, and he cooks for me, which is awesome. My daughter occasionally will make something I can eat, but it isn’t really an issue if she doesn’t, since I don’t generally eat another meal after lunch, and just eat a piece of fruit if I’m hungry in the evening. At my other son’s place, I have to take food with me simply because he doesn’t cook. I’ve given up on friends accommodating me, because they just don’t get it. It used to upset me and make me angry, but not anymore. It’s just how it is. The only time it annoys me is if people at work want me to chip in and help them order food like a pizza for the rest of them, knowing I can’t eat it! To me that shows insufferable arrogance and lack of caring. I just tell them no thanks, I won’t be contributing. When my kids were in school, and I packed their lunches, I used to take a juice box out of the freezer and pack it with their dairy free lunches. By the time they ate lunch, the juice was defrosted and as a bonus, it kept their bag lunches cool on even the hottest days. It’s rough for kids, and it seems to me, it’s rougher now than it was then, because the other kids were envious that they brought juice boxes and homemade cookies in their brown bags.

    • Cook says:

      Mari,

      Thank you for sharing this with us! It is frustrating to me as well when people blatantly say things like, “Well, it only has a little butter in it.” or “Can he have pizza?” No! I try to let it go myself, but it does get annoying when it comes from the same people all the time. You wonder if they really care in the first place. But, I can’t let that keep me down. I’m glad to hear that it all goes pretty well for you though!

      Michelle

  2. At the moment, Baby is just reaching the stage where she realises that she is missing out, if others have something that she can’t. I carry dairy free chocolate buttons or lollies in my bag, when we go to birthday parties and try and phone ahead to contact the host. I ask them what kind of food they’re going to be having and try to replicate it as much as I can. I try to make cupcakes the day before (my little one loves helping to make them) and then she has one to take to the party. If I’m feeling generous I will take the whole batch to share with the others at the party – ’cause they usually look so good, that other children look at them longingly!

    • Cook says:

      I always keep a batch of cupcakes in the freezer to take to parties. You just thaw (even in a microwave for 30 seconds) and spread on some icing (optional). Easy peasy and it does the trick! Thank you for sharing with us! I hope your daughter is always able to enjoy the special treats that mama provides!

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