For parents, it is always often difficult to help a teenager with vitiligo navigate the broad range of challenges posed by the chronic skin disorder. It often gets trickier as this is the time when they fly out of their nests and may experience unkind remarks and strange stares. With deteriorating self-image and low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts may peak up as they become more prone to clinical depression in vitiligo.
While there are no fix “what to do” and “what not to do”, you can always rely on your experience to help your teenage son/daughter cope with the challenges posed by vitiligo and rise above them. Here’s a help-guide.
1 – Listen
A teenager with vitiligo often gets emotionally charged. Looking around people with pigmented skin may make them feel very sad and hopeless. If they wish to talk about it, listen. Being a great listener is a great parenting skill. It will only make them listen to your advice when time comes.
2 – Educate
If your child had vitiligo from childhood, it’s time to educate him/her about vitiligo and explain it thoroughly. Doing so will empower him/her to educate others who hold on to many myths about vitiligo. Of course, choosing when and how to talk about the chronic skin disorder is a very personal choice.
If vitiligo runs in the family, be the family historian. Tell him/her all you know about family history. It will make him/her feel less alone and develop a sense of belonging.
3- Be Supportive
Let your kid know that you’re always there for him/her. You can do that by being least judgmental. Avoid negative remarks. This will only cause him/her not share their feelings with you.
Be supportive of his/her choices. If the choice does not make sense to you, explain your reasons for being uncomfortable with it. Explain how things were different when you grew up. Use it as a way to examine change, not as a way to pass judgment.
4 – Spend some quality time
Playing with your son/daughter outdoors and visiting places you both love build memories and camaraderie. Be the adventurous parent and excite your loved one, once in a while.
5 – Don’t share your fear
Don’t admit your fears about bullying if your loved one is about to join a college. Rather say, “If you need any help, call me. You know you can talk to me about anything.” Your beloved is about to embark on lifelong adulthood. Whichever phrase of concern springs to your lips, hold it in. Your grown up baby needs support, not dread. Also make sure that you don’t say these 12 Things to a teenager with vitiligo.
6 – Stay connected
If you don’t see your teenager son/daughter regularly, stay connected. In this tech age, computers, tablets, and smartphones can help you keep in touch. You can virtually visit each other using Skype or FaceTime any time. This way, your son/daughter will never shy away from sharing anything with you.