Tuesdays are Your Turn – Overprotection vs. Avoiding Contagion

The long, anxiety-ridden chain of events leading up to my daughter’s current-but-dwindling GI bug:

1. A boy my kid hangs out with at school had a birthday party scheduled for the day before Easter, right in the middle of Spring Break.

2. That’s why most of the kids he invited, mine included, couldn’t go.

3. So his parents rescheduled the party for this past Saturday.

4. Last Thursday, two days before the party, he went home early after getting sick in the bathroom at school.

5. His parents didn’t postpone the party since he was feeling better by Saturday morning.

6. However, his family contains eight people, all of whom live in the house, meaning viruses can circulate through plenty of bodies before they leave the premises.

7. All of which I knew before the party.

8. Therefore, I faced this decision Saturday evening: keep my daughter – who gets sick all the time, anyway – home to avoid the probable contagion, or refuse to live according to what *might* happen and accept the possibility of illness.

9. We talked with her about the risk of contracting a stomach bug vs. the reward of the party, and she still wanted to go.

10. Because I don’t want to raise my kid into a fearful adult and I feel like 11 year-olds should have some choices and independence in their lives, I let her go. With a travel-size bottle of hand sanitizer in her pocket.

11. And that’s how she (and at least two other children also at the party) got sick.

Today’s question:

What would you have done?

20 responses to “Tuesdays are Your Turn – Overprotection vs. Avoiding Contagion”

  1. Kelley says:

    Fortunately, mine is still young enough that I would (and have) not let her go. I just then let her pick something else she has been wanting to do, and she is young enough to be happy with that.

    I can’t imagine doing that (inviting children into a contageous home).

  2. Sara C. says:

    What would I do, or what would I LIKE to do?

    I would LIKE to keep her in a bubble, away from all contagions. Vomiting can be an asthma trigger for M.

    I guess I probably would have done what you did, and given her an option.

    IF it were my party…it would be cancelled. In fact, my daughter’s 5th birthday, she woke up and vomited…really, no big deal, the kid throws up all the time anyway….but I called everyone and said “I think it’s just her ‘thing’ but you may not want to come anyway….if you choose to, we’ll all be here, and there is food and cake…but for all intents and purposes, the party is cancelled.” My parents and inlaws all opted to come, her friends opted not to…and it was fine. (turned out, it was just her ‘thing’…but better to be safe than sorry.)

  3. Samantha says:

    me? I probably would have kept her home.. but then shes (almost) 5 so she doesnt get a huge amount of say in her activities just yet since she cant weight risk vs benefit on her own yet. But.. then I do get told Im “paranoid”… granted this is usually my grandparents and often followed by the advice that if I “just let her get used to it” (her allergens), shed “be fine” and her asthma “isnt as big of a deal as I make it out to be” so I take that with a very large grain of salt… My monkey though, she gets everything and is still at the stage where a simple cold can be bronchitis and borderline pneumonia in three days (im not even exaggerating that time frame either) so Im verrrry cautious with her

  4. Danielle says:

    As a kid? I would have appreciated being given the decision. But since I’ve always really, really hated stomach bugs I probably wouldn’t have gone.
    Hope Kyra’s feeling better tonight :)

  5. This is hard. For us, on the one hand, puking is not a big asthma trigger.

    On the other, no one wants to puke. And the last 2 bouts of stomach bugs we had, left me with black eyes–I puked that hard.

    And stomach stuff is pretty contagious. It’s almost impossible not to get it.

    So we would probably skip it.

    But it sucks. We’ve been quarantined now for almost 4 months. My daughter was sick constantly for 8 weeks and had her first wheezing episode and nebulizer treatment. I was keeping her home because she had like 6 or 7 infections in a row.

    I then had a bad asthma flare and ended up in the hospital and on prednisone for a month (for the first time in years). So I now have NO immune system and don’t dare risk an illness right now.

    However, I am also pretty sick of staying home too.


  6. Amy says:

    Seriously, I just don’t get other parents sometimes – no way would I still host a party in their shoes. AND it was a slumber party for the boys. Since my kid is still home with this, who knows how many of those kids went home sick today, too?

    Anyway, I wouldn’t have let her go when she was the age most of your kids are, either. Her asthma flares and gastritis problems were just too serious back then, and these kinds of illnesses are so much harder with little ones.

    Before we left for the party I told her, “Look, chances are EXTREMELY high that you’ll get sick, but I have no way to know for sure. And I understand sometimes you don’t want to be the kid who gets sick all the time & you just want to go ahead and take that chance. But I also think if you do get sick, that you should remember this talk when stuff like this happens in the future.”

    I’m still conflicted.

    Obviously. :)

    Just have to put it behind me and move forward, I guess.

  7. Danielle says:

    You can only hope the parents have learned from this and will be hypervigilant about it in the future.

  8. Allison says:

    I would have done the exact same thing — I think I actually have done the same thing. I would have discussed the risks with my kids, reminded them to wash their hands constantly, and hoped for the best. Then when they got home, I’d dip them in a vat of hand sanitizer :) .

    Like others said, if there was a stomach bug at my house, I’d get that info out there, cancel the big party, and let people over at their own risk for a small party.

  9. Lesley says:

    Yikes, vomiting as a trigger for asthma…I never considered that! I am fortunate that my son has not had too many stomach bugs, but he just had one last week and I never thought about it triggering a flare. He was freaked out when he felt like he couldn’t breathe when he was actually getting sick, but didn’t seem to have any issues afterward…guess I’m glad I didn’t have the knowledge of GI stuff being a potential trigger then so I could concentrate all my worry on other things. :) Is vomiting a common trigger for many asthmatics?

  10. Amy says:

    Lesley–Vomiting isn’t a trigger for my kid’s asthma, but I think the commenter above assumed it was since I wrote about it maybe?

    In fact, Kyra throws up sometimes when her gastritis flares, and even that doesn’t trigger her asthma.

    It’s my understanding that it CAN trigger asthma when stomach acid reaches the airways (like GERD), although I don’t know how common that is.

  11. Sara C. says:

    vomiting IS a trigger for MY AG’s asthma, I’m not sure how common it is for others. I think that a lot of it has to do with the fact that she throws up SO much, that she has developed sort of a cough that precedes an episode, and she irritates her lungs, and it just snowballs from there. Sorry to confuse everyone.

  12. Amy says:

    Oh, I didn’t mean you, Sara!

    And now I just reread this whole thread and saw your comment about vomiting being a trigger for your kid. I hadn’t realized you posted that when I commented to Lesley. Sorry for the mix-up!

    It appears I’M the one confusing everyone–

    IGNORE ME, DEAREST READERS. My brain is suffering from lack of sleep & this conversation was doing just fine without me.

  13. Linda F says:


    I very much know your dillemma. I myself have severe asthma and am a Mom of an almost 3 year old, who is healthy. However, I keep us home when I know there have been illnesses going around, because for me I not only have to deal with my daughter who more than likely will catch it, but then I have to take care of me too. And for me, it’s too much. Even if I was healthy, I’d still keep her home, but my kid is at that age where germs spread easily. If she was older I know it would be harder.

    When I was growing up, my parents kept me and my siblings out of activities when they knew somebody was sick and it was at their house. They just told me I couldn’t go, that THEY had something else going on that interferred. They never made me feel like it was because of me. That might be a thought for next time.

    Hope you daughter is feeling better.

  14. Sarah says:

    My mom would have probably taken the same approach when I was a kid (though if I decided to go and then got sick she wouldn’t have spared the “I told you so”‘s).

    If it were me, I’d avoid going to a party where someone was sick, just because I seem to catch almost everything I’m exposed to.

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