Managing concerns about a teen's wellbeing

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Children with chronic health issues may be more likely to be bullied and also have parents that are overprotective. Learn what you can do to deal with these issues.

Key points

  • As a parent of a child with health issues you may sometimes be overprotective, however, this can cause more problems than it prevents.
  • If you have ongoing disagreements with your child, speak with someone you trust and encourage your child to do the same.
  • Children with chronic health conditions are more likely to be bullied. Speak with someone you trust if you think your child is being bullied.

As a parent, you probably feel that it is your job to protect your children. However, parents can sometimes become overprotective if a child has had health problems. This is understandable, but in the long run, it causes more problems for the child than it prevents.

Managing different opinions about your child's wellbeing

If you and your teen seem to be constantly arguing about issues that you believe are related to safety (such as your child’s curfew, who your child wants to spend time with or which activities they want to do), speak to someone you trust.

You can also encourage your teen to talk with another adult, such as an aunt or uncle, a teacher or a guidance counsellor, about the situation.

Your child's health-care team is also available if you need to talk to someone who is more familiar with their condition and health-care needs.

Ideas from other parents on managing concerns

One parent said, “Every discussion we had with our teenage daughter seemed to end in an argument. She said that we were being too controlling and overprotective, and we got tired really fast of hearing that we were the only parents in the world who wouldn’t let their teenager do whatever it was she wanted to do. We met with the social worker at the hospital and she helped us and our daughter come to an agreement about the things we were fighting about the most. It wasn’t easy to ask for help, and we still have arguments with our daughter on occasion, but overall we all fight much less and our home life is more peaceful for everyone.”


One issue that you cannot control is the fact that many children and teenagers deal with teasing and bullying. Sadly, children with special needs or chronic illnesses are more vulnerable to being bullied by others. This is partly because they have not had the chance to develop the social skills that come from forming friendships with other children. Research on bullying shows that children with overprotective parents are at much higher risk of being bullied and of becoming bullies themselves.

Please speak to someone you trust if you think you are being overprotective of your child (or if people you trust are strongly hinting this to you) or if you are worried that your child is being bullied or is bullying others.

Ideas from other parents

One parent told us, “I noticed a big change in my daughter. She went from being a fairly happy kid who loved school, to a miserable girl who just wanted to stay in her room. I knew something was wrong and she finally admitted that a couple of girls at her school were treating her badly. She didn’t want me to call the school, but she knew that something had to change. We talked through a bunch of ideas and she finally agreed to get the guidance counsellor involved. Once the school knew what was going on, changes were made and the situation improved a lot. It still isn’t perfect, but at least now she looks forward to going to school and for the most part, she’s pretty happy again.”

Another parent said, “Our son has a developmental delay and we worry that he could be an easy target for bullies. We spoke with our son’s teacher, school social worker, two other parents of kids with special needs and a couple of people on our son’s health-care team for ideas. We kept track of everyone’s suggestions, then we picked out what we thought would be the most helpful and we’re working on these things.”

Last updated: March 3rd 2021