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Families come in different shapes and sizes. No matter who makes up your family, they have probably played a big role in who you are. Having primary immunodeficiency (PI) can affect your family in little and big ways. They have probably helped you when you’ve been sick. They will be there to support you, but it’s a good idea to learn to take care of yourself.

Being Independent
Your parents probably make most decisions for you, but you may be making more choices on your own now, like when you will do your homework, what you will wear to school, and what activities you want to be a part of. You have been doing more and more for yourself. One of the best parts of being a teenager is having a little freedom and making your own decisions.

You can show your parents that you can handle more responsibility and more freedom if you can take care of yourself, specifically manage your health. Here are few ideas:

  • Talk to them! Ask them about your healthcare and learn everything you can about PI and how it affects you. You can be more independent if you understand your healthcare and your parents know you understand it.
  • Become more involved in your healthcare. Help your parents by tracking your symptoms, infections, medications, treatments and appointments in the IDF eHealthRecord or in a journal.
  • Come to IDF programs with your parents to learn more about PI. You can go to IDF Retreats or an IDF National Conference, which are great for all members of the family, or you can go to an IDF Teen Escape, which is a weekend for teens and parents.

Although you may want to be more independent, don’t forget that you can still ask a family member for help when you need it.

Brothers and Sisters
If you have brothers and sisters, we can’t talk about family without talking about them! They might annoy you sometimes, or they may be your best friends. However you feel, remember that your brothers and sisters care about you, but sometimes they get mad if they are asked to do more around the house or don’t get the attention they want because they don’t have PI. Some brothers and sisters don’t get mad, but they feel sad and guilty because they don’t have PI. Talk with your parents about your brothers and sisters, and how all of you can do things together as a family.

Remember that a family is like a team. Winning teams talk with each other and work together!