When you first learn that you have MS, you may feel able to discuss it with your family. Indeed, many people receive the news of their diagnosis with their partner or parents and the process of dealing with the diagnosis is a team effort. For many people, it is a relief to be able to talk about it.
MS can change the dynamics of a family and affect relationships. While some changes can be challenging such as the need for more help around the house, others can be very rewarding such as new hobbies discovered with family members. For a family to live with MS in the most positive way, the first stage is telling your family.
The process of telling family members can sometimes be difficult. They may have lots of questions that you don’t know that answer to. They may also become upset, especially if they don't know anything about MS. Before you discuss your diagnosis with members of your family, you need to consider how you think they will react. It may be helpful to have information pamphlets available to help talk about MS and to explain what MS is.
Parents often choose not to tell their children about their MS. Naturally, they do not want to frighten their children or cause them undue concern. However, children are very good at picking up changes in moods, over-hearing conversations or responding to body language, and without the appropriate information, they imagine much worse things and become upset.
For children and teenagers with MS, telling family can be especially difficult. It can be an emotional process as family members feel that life will change dramatically for the young person. Most children and teenagers will rely on their parents or guardians to help them with the telling process, so it is important that both parties are comfortable with talking about the subject.