Post # 1
My nephew has been diagnosed with pet allergies (cats and dogs). My parents have two cats so my sister decided a long time ago her family would not go to my parents’ house. So my parents visit them every weekend. My mom babysat my nephew at his house every day this summer and he had no reactions. Now he’s been diagnosed with “more severe” pet allergies, so my sister asked my parents to change their clothes before they come over. Fine. They did that. Now she’s saying he had a rash after their last visit so she’s not letting them visit at all now. I live out of state but have two cats. Our other sister has a dog. Now we’re all worried that we won’t be able to see him. Is there any solution to this situation besides everyone giving up their pets? My parents are so upset.
Post # 3
@poetryreader80: Sorry, I don’t have any advice but I do want to express how bad I feel for your parents. I think it’s sad that they’re being put in such a tough position.
Post # 4
This seems pretty extreme and probably a coincidence, but in the interest of appeasing her for the time being, maybe they could buy some new clothes that go directly to (and stay at) the sister’s house? So when they come in they immediately change and wash their hands and then change again before they leave?
Post # 5
And they could also offer to shower before interacting with the child. They could carry some pet dander in their hair or anywhere on them really. If they showered and changed clothing it should bring no issues
Post # 6
you said they’ve had rules for “a long time” – how old is the child? She can’t keep him away from pet-owning people for ever. What about when he goes to kindergarten? Half the kids will have pets, and there’s no way they’ll be as meticulous about being pet hair/dander as your family has been. If it’s actually this serious, she needs to see an allergist and start him on anti-histamines or something that will help him build up a tolerance.
In terms of right now, I don’t have anything other than what’s already been suggested. For those of you out of state, I don’t see this being too much of an issue – visit sans pets and bring freshly-washed clothes. Maybe offer to shower right before you leave as well so you’re mostly pet-free when you walk in their home (and then rinse off again if necessary?). But this really sucks for your parents with their regular visits.
Post # 7
Wow what a terrible situation. I feel awful for your parents, it seems a little extreme not letting them see their grandchild but I am sure your sister is so stressed about dealing with such severe allergies for her baby. I think other posters all have good advise. I am sure she sees a dermatologist or allergy specialist for him so she should consult with him- I doubt his only recommendation would be banning the pet owning grandparents.
Post # 8
I’m so sorry that your parents have to deal with this! I don’t want to offend anyone but your sister is being absolutely ridiculous!! What about when he’s older?! Will he avoid anything to do with pets??
Post # 9
@poetryreader80: As someone who grew up with severe allergies and athsma, I can tell you your nephew’s allergies are going to get worse as your sister tries to stop him from being exposed to anything. I would highly recommend that she researches “the old friend theory” and the “hygiene hypothesis.” I have tried every allergy treatment (allergy shots, chinese herbal medicine, accupuncture, biofeedback treatment, etc) and until I found this information, nothing worked.
Post # 10
Why don’t they get rid of their cats? It seems extreme, but allergies can be very dangerous. I generally think isolating and keeping an allergic person from allergens makes it worse over time. The kid can’t live in a bubble – what happens when he goes to school with kids with pets? I don’t blame your sister, though. It’s her child, her choice. If I was your parents, I’d get rid of the cats.
Post # 11
What kind of pet allergy is that extreme? He’s not going to be able to go to school.
Post # 12
@peachacid: that is what I was thinking…
Post # 13
Honestly I would stay out of things, and let your parents and your sister sort this out between themselves. Only get involved if you come to visit, and make your visiting arrangements directly with your sister, not via your parents.
You cannot tell a parent how to raise their child; you cannot tell a grandparent how to be involved in their grandchild’s life; and trying to convince either that they are “doing it wrong” is only going to stir up conflict. Even worse if it is one family member who feels like the rest of the family is ganging up on her.
So step back out of it, and suggest that other family members do the same, and let your parents and your sister figure this out on their own, without anyone else’s opinions.
Post # 14
@MrsWBS: getting rid of the cats is the opposite of encouraging the mother to not force her child to live in a bubble.
Post # 15
@fishbone: thanks for stating the obvious. But, if the parent is unwilling to let her child be around people with pets, then I’d do whatever it took to see my grandkid. Like I said, it’s her sister’s kid so her sister’s choice.
Post # 16
That’s what I was thinking. Can he never go on a bus or carpool? Must he avoid restaurants, movie theaters, and hugging? She is going overboard.