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Dr. Nicole Danforth

Nicole Danforth, MD
Psychiatrist, MGH

This is a transcript of a video from the Growing Up with Epilepsy Web site. For more information visit

Dr. Nicole Danforth: For a child with epilepsy, I mean, it's a challenge both for the child, but also for the family—for the child's parents, siblings and even friends are affected. And one of the things that we've noticed with parent is that they too struggle with how to parent best with a child with epilepsy. And the reasons can be multivariate, ranging from feeling guilty that somehow they gave their child epilepsy or that their child suffers so much with this illness that, you know, they're going to try to sort of protect them and cocoon them from any of life's struggles. And one of the things that we worry about is that parents in their well-hearted and well-intentioned attempts to sort of protect their child, they end up sort of interfering with the child's ability to kind of master their environment. I mean there are certain struggles that we all have to go through as we're growing up. And a three-year-old needs to be told no, for instance. And sometimes parents of a child with epilepsy might try to say no a little bit less. And what happens is the child ends up not being able to sort of master their environment and sort of master the challenges of, you know, well, how do I handle frustration? Because if we take away all the frustrations, a child is going to grow up not knowing how to manage those frustrations. And so we really try to encourage parents to help, sort of, their child master the sort of relevant developmental sort of steps as they go along.