So you decide it’s time for a talk. But as you approach your son to lay down the law, you stop short. What if my yelling at him causes a seizure?
This is a common and understandable fear, but perhaps not a rational one. Most of the time, children with epilepsy aren’t as fragile as you think.
Equal Treatment for Kids With Epilepsy
Remember, children with epilepsy should be treated just like any other child whenever possible. Just as kids with epilepsy can go to school, play sports, and go on dates, they can also get yelled at by their parents when they step out of line. You shouldn’t let epilepsy excuse bad grades, and you shouldn’t let it excuse bad behavior.
As any doctor or parenting book will tell you, kids need discipline. Treating your kid like an invalid is a surefire way of getting him to behave like one. Even worse, you could be turning him into a tyrant. Children are smart. If your child sees that you’re afraid of making him upset because of his condition, he may take advantage.
Remember, a spoiled, self-centered child won’t be popular on the playground. Overindulgence on your part could impair your child’s social skills.
Special Circumstances for Kids With Epilepsy
Of course, you have to make decisions about discipline based on the specific case. If your child’s seizures are completely uncontrolled, you may need to adjust your usual discipline to some extent. In addition, some children who have epilepsy also have developmental or learning problems that can make disciplining him more challenging.
Keep in mind that your child’s bad behavior may be related to side effects from epilepsy medicines. Some medicines could make your child hyperactive, exhausted, or forgetful.
Whatever the reason, don’t settle and accept the situation. If your child’s seizures are uncontrolled, or if you think medications are causing problems, talk to your doctor. Allowing the problems to persist — while you live in fear of upsetting your child and provoking a seizure — isn’t healthy for anyone. A lack of discipline will make behavior worse—and discipline, itself, will not worsen epilepsy.