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Let’s Put the Word Sick to Bed

By Heidi Skye, MS, DC

Words guide us, choose them consciously.

Coughs and sneezes are heard in households all over the world. Late night fun times in the bathroom taking care of kids are had by all parents. It is amazing (and gross) the things that ooze and fly out of our kids. Symptoms happen.

It is common when our child has symptoms that we tell them they are sick. Most of us do this whenever our child has a cold or flu or barf bug. We often announce it when we ourselves aren’t feeling well.

Now I have a question for you, one you may have never considered:

Is your child sick because they have symptoms?

Sickness is the lack of the ability of the body to adapt. Aren’t the symptoms of a cold, flu or barf bug a sign the body is adapting?

Here’s the science.

When a child gets a viral or bacterial infection the body responds by doing things like increase the body temperature to kill the bug or produce mucous which eliminates the chemical by-products, dead bacteria or viruses and debris from the healing process. Your child may have less energy because the body is redirecting its resources to adapt and clear the bug. These are all signs of a body that is adapting to its environment and this is HEALTHY

“Sick” would be a body that is not able to sense and respond or heal. The childhood flues, colds, coughs and projectile vomiting sessions are actually proof that your child’s body is healthy. It is doing what it needs to do to restore balance.

Here’s the philosophy:

I believe that telling a child that they are sick when they have a routine childhood illness disempowers them. It tells them they are a victim of something outside themselves instead of highlighting their inner healing power. It discounts their body’s wisdom that runs the show healing their body.

Here’s the action step:

Try different language.

Instead of telling your child they are sick try saying:

“Your body is processing.”

“I see your body is cycling.”

“You are symptomatic” (my 14 year old said recently, “Mom I am symptomatic. Can I skip lacrosse today?”)

“Looks like your body is having a rainy day.”

“Your body is healing, that is why you are warm. Let’s snuggle”

These words infer that they are healthy, strong and are merely adapting. It does not ignore the symptoms but it frames them in an empowering way. It says this is normal and you are recovering… this too shall pass.

All of these examples infer process instead of predicament. This begins to help them form Holistic Headspace! And a child with holistic headspace feels their body is capable and healthy.

Let’s put the word sick to bed – instead learn and teach the Language of Wellness with your family!

DSC_9991Heidi Skye M.S., D.C is a mom and a family chiropractor who blogs at Her passion is to speak and write about the conscious conversations parents can have with their children to create a “Culture of Wellness” in their families. She has been in private practice in the San Francisco Bay area for 20 years and holds a master’s degree in Neuroendocrinology.