Coping When a Parent Has Multiple Sclerosis.
Barbara Cristall not only deals with the trials of MS in the family, she also provides great advice to children who sometimes feel lost or confused. The book addresses anger, guilt, helplessness, and frustration and the fears that affect everyone in a family with MS. It includes invaluable firsthand accounts from children about how their lives have been changed by a parent's MS. These children give advice, support, and understanding to their peers.
Ms. Cristall writes directly to teenagers, and takes on contemporary problems such as school troubles, sexual and drug abuse, divorce, and friendships. She emphasizes the need to "take care of yourself," which is a difficult concept for teens to understand when a parent is ill.
Coping empowers children, who often feel out of control, by providing explicit information on the changes MS causes -- in vision, bladder control, sexual practices, and more. These are the realities of MS, and it is wonderful to have them discussed openly, with suggestions for children on each topic. Ms. Cristall does not underestimate her readers' intelligence.
One of the strongest aspects of Coping is the list of resources it provides. This includes hot-line numbers and step-bystep instructions on how to use these numbers.
Coping When a Parent Has Multiple Sclerosis is a must-read for all children with a parent who has MS. It will also help their parents. Barbara Cristall has done a fantastic job with this comprehensive and extremely informative book.
Reviewed by Lauren S. Rosenberg, MD. Dr. Rosenberg is currently doing a residency in family medicine at Thomas Jefferson Hospital in Philadelphia. Her late father had MS, and she volunteers at the Greater Delaware Valley Chapter as a peer counselor for people with MS in the family.