How can she hang out with her friends if she can’t eat what they eat? What he’s going to do when his mates want to go for a pizza? She’ll never get invited to birthday parties! Who will marry him?
Whether your coeliac child is very young or already a teenager, you’re trying to decide what to cook for them this week and yet these questions are whizzing around your brain. And let’s face it, you are worried!
A child’s social life is very important. At primary school, you can manage it to a certain extent through organised play dates, and getting to know the other mums and dads. But come secondary school, and you may not get to meet all his friends, let alone their parents.
But, and it’s a big but, her friends like her. That’s why they’re friends. And friends look after each other. And they expect their own family to look after her too! In a way coeliac children have an advantage in that their peers who make the effort, are indeed genuine friends.
Managing birthday parties is a blog in itself, but our gluten and dairy free son gets invited to more parties than his brothers. I think because they are already used to being ‘different’ young coeliacs have more confidence socially.
So take a deep breath. Being a coeliac can be a hassle at times, but if your child is a party girl, she will still party. If he is a quiet lad who prefers to hang out with only one or two friends, then that is what he will do. Their social life is determined by their nature, and not their diet.
This is the first of a series on the social realities faced by young coeliacs, from pre-schoolers through to college. How’s it been for you and your child?