Cystic Fibrosis: Helping Teens Transform

Cystic Fibrosis: Helping Teens Transform

Cystic Fibrosis: Helping Teens Transform

Every parent wants nothing but the best for their children. Happiness and health are of utmost importance, but disease is unpredictable. Once a child has been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, it may take the parent quite a while to come to terms with their diagnosis.

The transition from childhood to adolescence is hard enough, but having CF adds to the stress.

If you believe that your teen’s diagnosis is taking a toll on their emotional well-being, consider asking yourself the following questions.

Is my teen depressed?

Children go through a wide range of emotions and moods, especially during their teenage years. By working closely with your teen’s CF care team, you can identify whether he or she is clinically depressed or they are experiencing a temporary change in their emotional well-being. Depression rates are higher among people living with CF so you may want to get help from a professional as early as possible. Together, you can get to the bottom of any underlying issues and determine approaches to conquering your teen’s depression.

What makes my teen happy?

Being that every individual is different, it is important that you are attentive to your teen’s specific needs and listen to when they are speaking to you. Expose them to a wide range of experiences that they find fun and appealing. Sometimes, all it takes is a little effort to bring them hope and joy during hard times. 

Does my teen have a good role model?

Sometimes, you may try to encourage your teen, only to end getting a response that you don’t understand what they are going through. These words may be difficult to hear and, in such instances, it may help to expose your teen to positive role models who are similar to them. A good role model can have a powerful impact on their life, helping them to experience good character qualities and pick up habits that could last throughout the course of their life. 

Are we connecting as a family?

CF can take a toll on your family and while it is not a matter that should be taken lightly, it does not have to take over your lives. Make it a priority to have fun together and to create happy family memories. Go to the zoo, go to the park, go out to lunch – do anything that allows you to bond with one another and connect as a family. Studies show that having fun makes you happier than buying stuff, so invest more time and energy in fun-filled life experiences. 

Does my teen have a vision for his or her future?

Coping with the burden of a progressive disease, such as CF, your teen may get tired and think that they have nothing to look forward to in the days ahead. It is important that you encourage them to follow their dreams and you empower them to plan for a bright future ahead.

The exact age at which a child assumes an active role as a more mature individual varies from individual to individual. This greatly depends on their social, physiological, and emotional maturity. However, with your help, you can help your teen come to terms with their disease and get through rough patches.

Lisa C. Greene, a certified family life educator and a mother of two teenagers with CF, provides some insight on this matter.

Read on for Lisa Greene's advice on helping teens with CF transition to adulthood.