The Three E’s Of Parenting When Your Child Has Psoriasis
Psoriasis can occur at any age and about one third of psoriasis sufferers experience symptoms before they are twenty i.
Having a visible condition like psoriasis affects the child’s perception of their body image. They often cannot control the urge to scratch, which results in bleeding wounds. They might also be teased by their peers about their skin. This can really damage their self-esteem.
Madam Faridah’s daughter Nurul was diagnosed with psoriasis at age five. According to Madam Faridah, “the worst thing is to watch your child struggle with psoriasis and not be able to help them.”
Madam Faridah said it was heartbreaking to see Nurul struggle in school to find acceptance amongst her peers and teachers even as she grappled with the physical discomfort of having psoriasis. At one point Nurul actually considered quitting school because it hurt so much to be called names and be shunned by her peers.
As a parent you want the best for your children and to protect them from harm. If you too have a child who has psoriasis, here are three tips help you cope better - Educate, Encourage and Empower.
The most helpful and important thing you can do to help your child is to educate yourself and others about psoriasis. Children tend to look to their parents for both support as well as solutions. Although you may not have all the answers, to know as much as you can about the condition will mean that you are prepared.
Assure your child that it is not their fault. Help clear the myth that psoriasis is due to them not being clean enough or not eating the right food. Reinforce facts like psoriasis is non-threatening and not contagious. Always be truthful but hopeful too.
Most importantly, teach your child about moisturizing and proper skin care, and to avoid scratching their wounds. Advise them to adapt to the situation as psoriasis means a change in lifestyle. Be sure that your child understands that while psoriasis might be part of who they are, it does not define who they are as an individual or prevent them from being who they want to be.
Discover ways to make activities fun and useful like making shopping a family occasion where everyone helps find clothing and a hairstyle that suits the child’s personal sense of style and comfort.If possible, get involved in disease awareness campaigns and help educate more people about psoriasis.
Children in their innocence can be extremely cruel when they encounter things they don’t fully understand. The name calling and feeling ostracised can be even harder for your child to face then the physical condition of psoriasis itself. They often become anxious about recurring episodes, worsening of the psoriasis and being rejected by other children their age. Therefore, encourage your child to be more active in peer support groups as well as explore new avenues for support like online portals for psoriasis patients. This is important because through support groups your child will be surrounded by peers who can relate to their experiences.
Also encourage openness about their illness, how to treat and cope with it. Do not hide it like it is an illness to be ashamed off, instead help find solutions and address questions. Your openness and willingness to support and address questions head on will give your child courage to do the same with others.
A child also tends to be more irritable when they have flare-ups. The countless treatments, moisturizers, pill and special shampoos do take a toll. When this happens, parents should avoid taking offense at their child’s moods as well as when psoriasis interferes with other plans. Be patient and show understanding.
Monitor your child's moods and be quick and remain vigilant to signs that their mood may becoming something more serious like depression. If you are concerned about your child's moods, consult your doctor immediately.
When a child feels good about themselves, half the battle is won.
Empower your child with the confidence to deal with psoriasis. Confidence is a gift that can help them through the difficult times of living with their psoriasis. Although dealing with the medical side of psoriasis is important, you must not neglect the intangibles like your child’s emotions.
One way to achieve this is to constantly show your support, care and concern by assuring them they are loved by their friends and families. Educating them about the disease is a good way to build up self-confidence.
Also help to minimize parental dependence by slowly letting them take charge of their own skincare when they reach adolescence. This ensures that they will take more responsibility for their illness and be more independent.