For children to develop into independent, self–reliant adults, they need room to grow. Taking reasonable risks is an important part of growing up. In fact, taking risks helps children learn what their abilities and limitations are. Many parents have a tendency to overprotect their child with epilepsy, imposing excessive restrictions on normal activities. Perhaps this feeling to constantly supervise the child stems from the parent’s inability to control the seizures. Because the child with epilepsy is believed to be more vulnerable or fragile than other children, parents have a tendency to build a protective environment around them.


Although this is understandable, it is usually unnecessary and may actually be harmful to the child. Placing unwarranted restrictions on activities can isolate a child from his peers. Also, the child who can’t do what the other kids are doing begins to feel different and feelings of inferiority and dependence can develop.
Fortunately, in the majority of cases, there’s no reason for parents to lack confidence in their child’s ability to manage outside the family. Most children with seizure disorders can lead normal, active lives. With the opportunity to explore beyond the home, your child will have the chance to grow up into a secure, independent adult who can find happiness and fulfilment in many things.

Taking precautions within the bounds of reason

Of course, allowing your child to participate in activities does not mean that you can’t take precautions to reduce the risk of accidents. To know when to let go and when not to, rests on how well your child’s seizures are controlled, and the particular situation at hand. Your doctor will give you the best advice on what your child’s specific limitations are. You should always consult him or her on all aspects of your child’s care.

The difference between letting go and discipline

Giving your child room to grow doesn’t mean the child should be allowed to behave any way he or she pleases. The trouble is that many parents are afraid to discipline their child with epilepsy at all, for fear the child will have a seizure. But a seizure will not happen simply because a child does not get his or her own way! The fact is that children with epilepsy need some form of discipline–just like other children. Epilepsy is no excuse to allow a child to misbehave. Another consideration is that if your other children are expected to live according to certain rules, while the child with epilepsy is not, resentment on the part of the brothers and sisters can develop – and that would be disruptive to the whole family.

The best thing to do is to establish rules for acceptable behaviour for all members of your family – and stick to them!