The Challenges of Being a Parent of a Child with Food Allergies



There are so many challenges that are associated with food allergies. Let’s face it, food allergies are a pain and annoying for kids to handle, but what about parents of kids with food allergies? I was curious and I wanted to get some perspective on what parents thought about food allergies. So, I interviewed a few parents that have kids who have food allergies. This is what they had to say:


I interviewed Ben:

Question: What are your kid's food allergies?

Answer: Holly- All nuts, shellfish, sesame seeds Matthew: All nuts except for hazelnuts

Question: What age did you find out your child had food allergies?

Answer: Holly- 4 or 5 Matthew- 6

Question: How did you find out?

Answer: Holly- I was eating peanut butter and I gave her a tiny dot of peanut butter on her lip, and she had an allergic reaction. Matthew- He had a Choco Taco which is a chocolate taco dipped in nuts. He had an allergic reaction to them.

Question: What is the biggest struggle that you deal with as a parent?

Answer: The biggest struggle is eating out because you need to trust that the restaurant does not mess up. So you are putting your trust in strangers.

Question: What do you do about restaurants, parties, family events, and friends’ houses?

Answer: You want to make sure everyone is aware of your child’s food allergies. Also, always have a “safe food” in your possession.

Question: What advice would you give new allergy parents?

Answer: If your child is having an allergic reaction, do not hesitate to give your child the EpiPen.

I interviewed Michelle:

Question: What are your kid's food allergies?

Answer: Nuts, shellfish, sesame seeds and mango.

Question: What age did you find out your child had food allergies?

Answer: Chad: Just before he turned 2 years old.

Question: How did you find out?

Answer: We were at a restaurant, and I gave my son a chocolate chip muffin. It turned out that they ran out of chocolate chips and substituted chocolate chip peanut butter muffins and did not change the label. After eating the muffin, my son had a bad reaction. He started coughing, complaining of a sore throat and had a reverse farmer’s sunburn type rash. In other words, he was swollen under his clothes, anything exposed looked normal. We knew that something was wrong.

Question: What is the biggest struggle that you deal with as a parent?

Answer: Making sure my child is included in eating. Also, worrying about what other people are eating when we are at sporting events.

Question: What do you do about restaurants, parties, family events, and friends’ houses?

Answer: Always call ahead of time to make sure that my child can safely eat at the place or event.

Question: What advice would you give new allergy parents?

Answer: Always be prepared for every situation with the EpiPen, anti-bacterial wipes and safe food items. I would also suggest getting support from other parents going through similar situations by joining an allergy Facebook group. It will help to hear what others do and how they cope.

I interviewed Lisa:

Question: What are your kid's food allergies?

Answer: My child’s food allergies are eggs, dairy, and peanuts.

Question: What age did you find out your child had food allergies?

Answer: Julia: At 6 months old we found out that my child had food allergies.

Question: How did you find out?

Answer: She was having failure to thrive and many medical issues. We were in and out of the doctor’s offices. We did a lot of repeated testing and the blood work showed that she was allergic to milk. The other allergens surfaced later.

Question: What is the biggest struggle that you deal with as a parent?

Answer: When she was younger, I would worry that she would eat something that she would think was safe but wasn’t. Now that she’s a teenager, the struggle is social events and her getting together with her friends. She misses out on things because everything has food.

Question: What do you do about restaurants, parties, family events, and friends’ houses?

Answer: She must always bring her own food, so I spend hours cooking and preparing.

Question: What advice would you give new allergy parents?

Answer: To hang in there. It will get easier as they get older. Never let your guard down and always carry the EpiPen.

My thoughts after my interviews:

After interviewing some parents whose children have food allergies, I realized that parents do a lot of things behind the scenes to protect their kids. This interview was eye opening. I am grateful I had the experience of being able to see things from a parent’s perspective.