Do Your Kids Actually Listen to You?

Most parents reading this title probably laughed so hard that they just snorted coffee out their nose. Do kids EVER listen? Doesn't it seem like your kids have "selective hearing?"

Our family has been battling allergies and asthma since the year 2000. And what a crazy ride it has been!

When it began

I have lost track of how many office visits we have had with Asthma Doc. When my kids were first diagnosed, he took the time to explain everything in detail. He showed me how to use an inhaler, why we had to rinse our mouth out after using a controller inhaler, how a spacer (aka holding chamber) works. What biologics are and how they work.

He asked me about our home and explained how some things in our home could affect our allergies or asthma. He gave me a list of things we could do to make our house allergy and asthma friendly. And we did them all.

I immersed myself in the world of allergies and asthma, and went back to college to get another degree (this time in public health). I read medical journals, listened to webinars, and attended national asthma conferences.

Teaching my children about asthma

Since I was able to stay home with the kids when they were little, I was in charge of their allergies and asthma. That meant figuring out how to teach everything I was learning to little kids--on a level where they could understand. Hmm.

So I used really simple terms to teach them about signs and symptoms of asthma.

We talked about their medicine - and which inhaler they needed to use every day (controller/maintenance inhaler), and which one was their rescue inhaler. I showed them how to use their inhaler with their spacer. And how to use the nebulizer. I let them decide if they wanted to use a mask or a mouthpiece.

When they ended up in the hospital with a case of pneumonia, we talked about everything that was happening: what respiratory therapists and nurses do, when the doctor would come and check on them, what all the annoying beeping on the machines meant, and how we could help them get better so they could go home.

And something happened over the last 20 years. They listened. And they learned. And they started to help other people.

Becoming educators of their own

Oldest Son was at work and noticed a coworker was using her rescue inhaler a LOT. He told her that if she was using it more than 2 times per week, her asthma was not controlled.1 He also noticed she didn't use her inhaler the right way and showed her how. He then asked her if she had a controller/maintenance inhaler and explained how that would keep the swelling down in her lungs so she didn't have to use her rescue inhaler so much.

When he came home to visit, he told me the story. I was so surprised that he remembered the Rules of Two! (It's a quick way to tell if your asthma is controlled.)1 He said, "Yeah, yeah mom. I remember the Rules of Two. That's how I helped my coworker."

Then Daughter's roommate was sick and got a rescue inhaler for the first time. Roommate was on a virtual visit and the doctor was trying to show her how to use an inhaler. The Doctor asked Roommate if she understood how to use it. And she said, "It's okay. My roommate knows how to use it and her mom is an asthma educator, so she can help me." But they didn't need my help! Daughter showed her roommate how to use her inhaler correctly.

If you ever wonder if your kids listen to you, don't be discouraged. You may be pleasantly surprised one day!

Has anyone else had an experience where their kids actually listened when you taught them about allergies and asthma?

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