I was reading a blog post today on VickiesIckies (a great blog by the way) about how some parents bring cupcakes to school for birthday celebrations which the kids with food allergies cannot eat leaving them excluded from the celebration. Sometimes the treat is brought at the last minute or without being the teacher’s prior knowledge leaving the parent of the allergic child little or no time to bring a substitute treat. The school’s answer was, “the allergic child needs to learn to deal with it”. I starting thinking about how amazing it has been in our experience (and perhaps in yours too) that kids are often much more compassionate than adults about another child’s food allergy.
For example, my daughter has a friend who became upset with her father (a good friend by the way who shared this story with us) for eating peanuts in the car because she was worried that our daughter might accidentally be exposed to the peanuts during a carpool sometime in the future. The 8-year old girl became so insistent that her father eventually pulled over and threw away his peanuts. When our child was much younger her preschool teacher once told me that from time to time, parents would send in peanut butter into their nut free classroom and the children would immediately take the “offending item” directly from their lunchboxes to the teacher saying, “I can’t have this here”. These children were three! We have heard parents tell us that their kids did not want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch because they would be playing with our kids later in the day. Maybe we are just fortunate that we have sweet friends, but I think there is something more to it than that.
I think kids are generally concerned about their food allergic friends because they love them and don’t want them to be hurt. Avoiding a particular food around their food allergic friend is their way of showing them that they love them. Parents sometimes, myself included, often look for the most convenient course of action. I will say, we are very blessed to have many adult friends that frequently bend over backwards and go far beyond the call of duty to accommodate our kids’ food allergies at their parties, for soccer snacks, etc. But, we are wondering if you have had the same experience with kids showing great compassion as it relates to your child’s food allergy?