Living with Chronic Pain
How a Parent’s Chronic Pain Can Negatively Affect Their Children
Children of a parent with chronic pain are often affected in some way by their parent’s condition. Five ways a parent’s chronic pain can negatively affect their children include the following:
- Newborns are more likely to have adverse outcomes. When a mother has chronic pain, their newborn is more likely to experience low birth weight, admission to the neonatal intensive care unit, or other adverse outcomes than a newborn whose mother does not have chronic pain.
- Children are more likely to have chronic pain. Children of a parent with chronic pain are more likely to deal with chronic pain themselves. This may be due to genetics, learned patterns of behavior, or a combination of the two.
- Children and adolescents may experience mental health difficulties. A parent’s chronic pain can contribute to their children’s mental health, including the potential for anxiety or depression.
- Children and adolescents may experience behavioral or social problems. Children of a parent with chronic pain may be more likely to experience hyperactivity or have issues with social skills than children whose parents do not have chronic pain. They may have decreased social competence (the ability to get along with others and form relationships).
- Adolescents may experience reduced self-esteem. This is especially likely in adolescent females of mothers with chronic pain.
Awareness of the impacts a parent’s chronic pain can have on their children is a good first step toward preventing any negative effects. It is important to seek treatment or intervention for a child if a parent’s chronic pain is negatively affecting them.