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Kids & Teens – Pacing by Lara Compton

Posted By HMSA Social Media Coordinator, June 1, 2018
Pacing is a hard concept for any of us, but most of all for children and young people. In a world full of peer pressure, it is incredibly difficult to pace – and let’s face it, that doesn’t even really go away as adults does it? How many times have you had pressure applied to attend a social gathering, or to “stay late this time” or to make sure you “have a drink.”  
Although friends and family are generally well-meaning, they often do not truly understand actually what conceding to the pressure actually means – days, or weeks, months sometimes of being able to do nothing but the school run, a flare of dysautonomia that can last equally as long, a bad subluxation – or multiple dislocations if you’re lucky. And those are just a few of the items on a long list of after-effects that you can encounter.
As an adult, I know now that the biggest answer to avoiding the boom and bust is to listen to your body – and then be firm in your decisions. This can feel incredibly difficult, and uncomfortable – but I try to keep an inner-dialogue going in my head, reminding me why I’ve made the decision I have.
But how can we apply this to children and teens who want nothing else but to be “just like their friends?”
My eldest is on the hEDS diagnostic pathway, she’s at that awkward pre-teen stage – and although she is pretty sensible most of the time, she also experiences a lot of anger and upset when she can’t do the things her friends can. She was told by a consultant last year that she needed to avoid running. Full stop. A different child walked out of that appointment. However, through experience (and many injuries) she’s learning that the consultant was right to advise against running in her case.
In our family, we very much take the stance that our daughter will learn through her own experience far better, than she will with us or anyone else “telling her” what to do. Yes, this has meant further injury, and yes, we have tried to discourage her at times – but ultimately, she has to learn to listen to her body, just like I do.
How do you help your children to pace? Do you pace as a family? What are your best pacing tips?

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