Here’s how to help your allergic child deal with food bullying

Here are experts’ recommendations for schools, students and parents on dealing with food allergy bullying.

Talk to your child. If you have a child with a food allergy, you should start a conversation in a nonthreatening way, said Scott Sicherer of the Jaffe Food Allergy Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. Ask, “Has anyone ever made you feel bad about your food allergy, or bothered or teased you about it? It’s okay to let me know, you won’t get into any trouble, but I know this happens to some kids, and schools can do something about it without involving me or you directly.”

If your child responds that, yes, she has been a victim of bullying, Sicherer recommends explaining to the child that adults will get involved to help. He suggests that parents discuss this with the school administration. The school can institute its anti-bullying procedures, ideally including education about the seriousness of food allergies. (Procedures and laws vary by state.)

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