How your child’s asthma affects you and the rest of your family

5) Older children

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Older children in the family:

  • May feel responsible for a younger child with asthma.
  • May resent having to watch out for the child with asthma.
  • May be overprotective of their brother/sister fearing an attack.
  • May be jealous of the attention the asthmatic child gets.
  • May be embarrassed by some of the asthma symptoms their brother/sister has (cough and sputum in particular).
  • May be frustrated if family plans have to be cancelled when the asthmatic child is unwell.
  • May resent the stigma of feeling different in front of their friends.

Taking time to understand and talk about some of the issues and feelings older children may have will let you know how they are coping with asthma in the family.

Encourage their friends to visit as children will often talk to friends about how they are really feeling to get support.

Self management

Teach older children who can understand, how to spot the early signs of an asthma attack so they can help if they are with the asthmatic child when they are feeling unwell. Keep written instructions at home so they know when and how many puffs of inhaler to give. Make sure they can contact you easily.