Parenting With Arthritis

Get tips and strategies for keeping arthritis pain from taking the enjoyment out of parenting.

Parenting is a tough job – even for a healthy person! It means that you have to be available to your children in some way, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A disease such as arthritis can make the parenting adventure even more difficult – and painful. Use these strategies to help you remain involved in your children’s lives while remaining as pain free as possible. 

Parenting Tips

When you have arthritis, you may not be able to handle a one-on-one game of basketball, but spending leisure time with your children is an important way to bond. As a parent with arthritis, adapt activities to your needs: play a board game, take a walk or go to the movies with your child.

“Hiding your illness creates a sense of shame,” says Mark Lumley, PhD, a clinical psychologist and professor of health psychology at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. “What’s more important is to show how you cope with it by reaching out for support and medicating wisely.” This way, kids learn about dealing with illness in a positive way.

Good parenting has nothing to do with physical health. “You can still be a heck of a good parent even if you’re struggling with pain,” Lumley says. “Good parents communicate, counsel, teach and discipline their children.”

When you have arthritis, attitude is the most important factor in maintaining a healthy relationship with your children. “If you become defeated by arthritis, your children will feel defeated as well,” says Annmarie Cano, PhD, a clinical psychologist at Wayne State University.

Over time, you will get to know what you can and can’t do and how to communicate it in a positive way with your children. Keep these tips in mind, and remember to go easy on yourself when you’re dealing with arthritis pain or joint flare-ups. Your kids are likely more understanding than you even realize! 

Stay in the Know. Live in the Yes.

Get involved with the arthritis community. Tell us a little about yourself and, based on your interests, you’ll receive emails packed with the latest information and resources to live your best life and connect with others.