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Did I Do The Right Thing?
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3 posts in this topic

I'm not sure if this is the right place to post this, but here goes...

I have a guitar student who is the sweetest, most wonderful little girl I have ever known. Her entire family has been one of my greatest blessings. She has a sister who I believe has celiac. She gets stomach aches when she eats gluten, and she also gets "spots" which sound like DH. She has a cousin with celiac and she has given up gluten because of these things, but she hasn't been vigilent. She doesn't check for CC, nor does she read every label, so it is only the obvious things like bread and cookies that she has given up.

Yesterday I talked to her like a Dutch uncle. I told her how serious this is. I told her about cancers and lupus and diabetes, and a lot of the other things that can happen to people who continue to eat gluten, even in small amounts. I even mentioned celiac crisis, and while I told her it was very rare, I stressed that she could be killing herself if she doesn't become more strict.

Well, I think I scared the daylights out of her. She left here looking so depressed it broke my heart. I DID tell her that sticking to the diet is not that difficult once you get used to it, and I told her about the great tasting breads she can get right here at our healthfood store. We talked about some of the great recipes for flourless cookies and cakes. I gave her the addy to this website and strongly encouraged her to come here and read as much as possible.

I'm worried that it might have backfired though. I'm worried that she may think it's too hard and she will give up. Or maybe that I scared her so much she will go into denial. I offered her as much help as she needed, but now I'm wondering if I gave her too much info at once. Maybe she'll never even want to talk to me again.

I love this sweet young girl (She's 13), and I love her family. I told the other kids that they and their parents should all be tested too. I want them well and healthy and happy.

Did I do the right thing? And if I went overboard, how should I fix it? I'm afraid that I, with my big mouth, did more harm than good.

(If you are reading this honey, please forgive me if I scared and depressed you. It's only because I love you so much.)

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Don't be too hard on yourself - you were trying to help this young girl understand how serious Celiac Disease is. I completely understand that what you told this girl was out of concern.

I do think a conversation with her parents is your best bet. Explain exactly what you said and why. Teenagers often take part of the conversation away with them without grasping the whole conversation. Given time she will likely process everything you said, but it can't hurt to have her folks know what was said and from where your concern stems.

If she mentions it to them without them being aware of the context, they could be upset. If she doesn't mention it to them - perhaps knowing of it will start a conversation this family needs to be having.

Hang in there.

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I cannot imagine you scaring anyone so much that she will not speak to you anymore, Barty....and I know your intentions are pure and motivated by genuine concern.

That said, do not feel bad about trying to help. You did a good thing here.

Here's the thing:

We all want to help others.

Do we sometimes press too hard with family and friends? maybe.

Do we want to spare them all the horror we have lived through? Most definitely.

But here is what is also true:

Even when we give our best advice out of love and concern, people can shut down, ignore us, say we are wrong, tell us we do not know what the *&^% we are talking about, say we are "wrong" because they do not feel "that bad" if they have a little, etc, etc, etc. There are members right on here who have insisted (at times) that whatever help we offer is wrong and they refute it. All any of us can do is offer our best info, based on the truth of following a gluten-free diet as we understand it, and let it go.

You helped because you care. :) Let it be now. She'll probably have questions for you in the weeks to come--and you'll be there for her.

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