How to Help Your Child Get Through Psoriasis
A visible ailment like psoriasis is a target for insensitive questions and even cruelty. People can be tone-deaf about things they don’t experience, and awful about things that they don’t understand. This can be traumatic, especially for young children. As a parent, it is your responsibility to help your child cope with their ailment, and here are a few suggestions to facilitate that:
1. Support their mental wellbeing
Children with psoriasis are at greater risk of developing mental health issues. Depression is the number one comorbidity of psoriasis, so you must find ways of keeping your child mentally healthy as they grow up.
Children who have this condition might feel repulsive or unwelcome in social situations, so you must make an effort to be attuned to their experiences in school. Do frequent check-ins with your child. Ask them how they are feeling, and walk them through negative emotions.
Encourage your child by showing them pictures of beautiful things with spots. You can have an entire discussion about what makes something pleasant and attractive, and prompt them to open up about things they may be experiencing in school. For older children, you can talk to them about celebrities or famous people who have the condition. It is important that they see how conditions like theirs are not an impediment to success.
2. Give them tools to cope in the outside world
Practice real-life scenarios with your child, such as introducing themselves in class or getting food from the cafeteria. If they are prepared for common encounters, they will feel less scared about going out and experiencing these. You should encourage them to make an “elevator pitch,” or a short spiel that touches on people’s FAQs about it.
Part of what makes them anxious about being outside is not knowing how to explain their situation to others. If they have a good grasp of it, they will be more confident in dealing with those who are curious, misinformed, or even hostile. Help them further by requesting their teachers to keep in touch with you regarding incidents your child might experience in school.
3. Put them on an adapted diet
Research shows that certain diets ease the symptoms of psoriasis. Cutting back on sugar, whole grain fibre, dairy products, and nightshades like tomatoes, eggplants and potatoes shows a reduction in flare-ups. In addition, a diet rich in omega-3 oils, vegetables, and fruits is said to be beneficial for patients.
Each person is different, though, and will react variably to food. A solution to this would be to keep a food diary with your child. Ask them to log all food they eat in school and when on outings with friends. This will help you and your dietician determine which foods cause flare-ups, identifying which foods need to be cut out of their diet.
4. Reach out to a support system
Sometimes, all anyone needs are the assurance that what they are experiencing is normal. Get involved with organizations like the National Psoriasis Foundation, which is based in the U.S., or the Psoriasis Association in the U.K. Raising awareness for the disease, together with people who are directly affected by it, will help your child expand their worldview on their health.
ConclusionLiving with this condition is difficult, and supporting a child through their condition is just as hard. With the proper tools, planning, and mindset, you can teach your child how to live with psoriasis.
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