Living with Chronic Pain
Parenting With Chronic Pain: Creating a Support Team
When one or both parents in a family has chronic pain, creating a parenting support team is invaluable. A support team can help with activities of everyday living, such as childcare and household chores, and provide much-needed emotional support. To create an effective support team, parents should first determine who would be good candidates to ask. It’s important to create a team of individuals with different talents and availability. Having a parenting support team in place prevents the need to scramble for help in the middle of a pain flare-up or when help is unexpectedly needed.
Potential candidates for a support team for parents with chronic pain include the following:
- Family members and friends — Trusted friends and family members who care about the children in the family are often willing to help when needed. Friends and family members who are not able to help with childcare may be willing to help with other tasks, such as grocery shopping or meal preparation.
- Members of a religious community or other community groups — If parents are members of a religious community, other members may be willing to provide meals, spiritual support, or other resources. Neighborhood groups or other community groups may also offer resources, such as a list of recommended babysitters in the area or people who are willing to help with difficult household tasks (e.g., putting together a swing set, trading out a crib for a bed, etc.).
- Support groups — Whether in-person or online, support groups for parents with chronic pain or chronic illness can be a valuable part of a parenting support team. Members of a support group can provide emotional support and offer tips and tricks that have worked for their families. Joining a support group also helps parents with chronic pain feel less alone in their journey.
- Mental health professionals — Parenting with chronic pain is stressful and can create or exacerbate difficulties with mental health. Having an individual or family counselor in place to rely upon when needed is important.
- Home health aides —Depending on income and financial status, some parents with chronic pain may qualify for home health aide assistance for a few hours per week. Home health aides can help with tasks around the house so the parent can focus more of their attention and energy on their family.
There is no shame in asking for help when needed. Creating a parenting support team and reaching out to them for assistance when needed is beneficial for both the parents and their children.
Additional source: Parents.com