Building Confidence in Kids with Vitiligo
Building Confidence in Kids with Vitiligo
Vitiligo affects not only the person who has it, but also people who are close to them, such as parents, caregivers, and family members.
Raising a kid with vitiligo is likely to be one of the most difficult tasks you’ll ever have, and it’s probable that you’ll be confused, nervous, and scared during the early stages of diagnosis as you learn more about what having a visible difference could mean for your child.
It’s possible that you’ll have a number of questions, such as how do I support my child at a difficult period? Will they be shunned since they don’t appear like the other students at their school? Is their skin going to get any worse than it is now?
Teaching children to be confident is a difficult task for any parent, but it may seem even more difficult for parents of children with vitiligo….but instilling confidence in them is completely doable. I believe that education begins at home, and that with the correct guidance and support, you can raise your child to be confident in their own skin while also teaching them how to navigate through school and deal with potentially tough situations. Of course, as parents, you won’t be able to be by their side at all times, but you can equip and teach them to be confident, which will have a long-term impact on who they become.
So, let’s look at what you can do to help.
Keep it simple while explaining vitiligo.
Vitiligo is a complicated issue because it can indicate the presence of another autoimmune disorder in some people. In addition to the physical effects of vitiligo, there is also a psychological impact. I would always advise keeping it simple and cheery when explaining vitiligo to your child in the first instance. Young children are likely to inquire about it (either because they are curious about their own skin or because someone has asked), so be prepared to respond when the question occurs.
Explaining in a basic way that kids can grasp implies explaining that they have white patches on their skin and that they shouldn’t be concerned since they don’t harm; it only makes them seem different. They are capable of doing anything their friends are capable of; the only difference is their physical size.
Some parents have even gone so far as to explain that their children have superpowers as a result of their patches! It’s a terrific way to lighten things up while removing the serious part, and what child doesn’t adore the thought of having their own superpower?
Explain that it’s an autoimmune condition in which white spots appear on the skin owing to a lack of melanin when they’re older and want to grasp the more intricate aspect of the ailment, but keep it simple until then.
Show how vitiligo is changing
Given the current attention vitiligo has received, as well as how social media has brought together an extraordinary community, showing them what they are a part of will automatically make them feel included.
Being a part of a community hasn’t always been possible, so now that we’ve banded together to support one another and openly share advise, living with the condition should be a little bit easier. Show them books that now feature characters with vitiligo so they can see themselves represented in the stories they love, show them that there is a Barbie Doll with patches like they do, and show them who the positive influencers are who are sharing their stories and paving the way for the younger generation in terms of education are. Children with vitiligo need to see that their condition is being depicted, and this helps to normalize the disease.
If you’re upbeat, they’ll be upbeat as well.
As parents, you are likely to be the ones whom your child looks up to and to whom he or she will turn to in both good and bad times. It is perfectly normal for parents to be concerned about how their children may be affected later in life; after all, they are children, and you will naturally be attempting to imagine their future with the illness. This may seem difficult, but it is critical to avoid passing on your anxieties and fears to your child. Children are highly perceptive to how you’re feeling, and if they pick up on your anxiety, it’s a sense they’ll recognize right away.
When I was younger, my parents were quite concerned about my skin. Because of the numerous medical appointments I attended, where we discussed all of the alternatives for slowing down the patches, I understood. But one thing I can tell is that I was never aware of their personal concern. They were always positive, assuring me that I was attractive, and they were never overly concerned with the subject. Vitiligo was never an issue for me from the age of three until I was eleven because it wasn’t a “hot topic” and I didn’t realize I was different.
If you’re concerned, it’s critical that you seek help from a medical professional or support groups so that you can talk about your worries. Chances are, there are plenty of other parents who feel the same way you do, and you’re there to support each other. It’s critical that you have a good attitude for your child so that they don’t become concerned as well.
Encourage children to show off their patches instead of hiding them.
Some parents may opt to cover their child’s skin to minimize potential stares and questioning queries, as they are concerned about how others would react. This is natural; nevertheless, encouraging your child to wear shorts in the summer and allowing them to wear bikinis by the pool will demonstrate to them that they have nothing to hide. I have so many photos of myself as a youngster with my legs and arms out for other kids to see my patches, and as obvious as my skin is, I love that my parents laid that foundation for me early on, pushing me to grow into a confident child. People will gaze because they are inquisitive, but it is better to embrace this than to feel compelled to hide your child in order to escape it.
Join Our Vitiligo Community
Stay up-to-date on the latest news about treatments and managing symptoms. Sign up to get important email updates with relevant information.