When the Young Child with Hemophilia Needs Factor
When your young child has to get factor, you may find it hard to control some of your feelings in front of him. Treatments may make you feel nervous or afraid. If your child cries when he gets factor, you may feel guilty. This is the time to remind yourself that your child needs your calm support. If you become upset, he will feel upset too.
If you are calm and in control when your child is treated, he will be reassured that it is not so bad. The next time he needs factor, he will be less worried about it. Try not to feel guilty if your child cries. Tell yourself that the small hurt from the needle is nothing compared to the pain your child would feel if the bleed were not treated.
Small children need simple reasons for having to take factor. Get your child involved in his own treatment as early as possible. Even very young children can do simple jobs such as arranging the supplies or putting on the band-aid. As your child gets older, increase his part in his treatment. This will encourage him to self-infuse (give factor to himself) when he is ready. It is best for a boy to begin self-infusing at age eight or nine.
Start teaching your child early to recognize signs of bleeding and to tell you about them. Some children hope the bleeding will stop and don't tell their parents. Children hate to take time out from playing to take factor. Most children who think they have caused a bleed by doing something they should not have been doing will wait until the last minute to tell. Teach your child that bleeds are not his fault. Help him see it is better to tell you about them right away.
It is normal for a child to be unhappy about hemophilia. Children do not want to have bleeds and have to take factor. They do not want to be different from their friends. You can expect your child to have his ups and downs as he adjusts to having hemophilia. If you think he is not adjusting as he should or if his behavior makes a change for the worse, you may need some expert help. Your child's school or your HTC can refer you to a counselor trained to work with children.