As a Child Life Specialist working with teens and kids who have special skin, there is one question I get A LOT. "How do I talk to my teenager, when they tell me they don't like how they look?" Parents are so worried that they will say the “wrong thing.” And truthfully, I have spent a lot of my child life career worried about the same thing. Sometimes particularly with our teenagers, our relationships can feel fragile, no matter the strength of our love.
When our teenagers come to us with concerns, particularly related to acne, it is so easy and natural to respond in this way:
"It's just a few pimples! Everyone gets acne when they are a teenager! You are still the most beautiful person in the world! Look at you! And you are smart, brave, strong, and amazing! Those pimples are no big deal! No one even notices them!"
And listen, mama, you aren’t wrong! But, your kiddo has come to you and revealed that they are struggling with their appearance. They have confessed that they are worried about what others think about how they look. Your son or daughter is divulging a very real concern. If we start by dismissing this real concern, even with truths and genuine compliments, we are often, unintentionally ending the conversation or starting an argument.
Instead, consider starting with acknowledging the concern you have heard and then following up with a question. For example:
"I hate to hear that your acne is bothering you and that you feel like it is making you ugly. (If it will help your parent's heart, you can say, I disagree, but we can talk about that later.) I am so sorry to hear you are feeling this way. What can I do to help you?"
Other potential follow-up questions/conversation continuers are:
"Tell me more about that. What in particular is bothering you? Is there something you would like to try or you would like help with? Is there something that happened today that is making this especially difficult? What is something that would help you feel better?"
Mamas and Dads, during this question-and-answer session, you may realize that your son or daughter already had ideas and hopes for what they wanted to try to cope with their acne or deal with it physically, and you can work from there. You may even find that they just wanted to talk to you about it and experience your listening (which, is a huge parenting success! Your kiddo wants your ears and ideas! Yay you!)
And usually, you will find a natural lull or conclusion of the conversation where you can then remind them that acne/struggles with appearance are a natural part of growing up. Then, and only then, you can tell them what has been on your heart and tip of your tongue since the conversation began. That that they are the most beautiful creature that you have ever laid eyes on! And now even though they may roll their eyes, they will be more open to hearing it, because you have truly validated and acknowledged their concerns and helped them discover the power within to work on them!
Getting your child to comply with wet wraps can feel like can be a battle! Which if you think about it, is a little ironic, because by administering wet wraps you are helping your child’s suit of armor, their skin defends itself against the outside world! So let us talk strategy, determine some “weapons” for your arsenal, and let’s realign so that you and your child can go from enemies to allies.
When we feel overwhelmed or stressed, it can be tempting to tell ourselves (or each other!) Just relax, calm down! When we are stressed or freaking out, that is easier said than done. That’s why preparing a “coping tool kit,” a set of strategies for dealing with stress can be really powerful.
Do you freak out when you break out? I know I have! It is natural when we have a break-out to look in the mirror and think things like “These pimples are gross!” “I hate my skin!” “Things are never going to get any better!” Even though it is natural we think this way, it is harmful too.
Stop picking, popping, poking your pimples!
I know, it’s sort of like eating the whole bag of potato chips…we all know we aren’t supposed to do it, and yet, the temptation is SO STRONG! So…how do you stop?
Start with choosing an alternative activity!
We had so much fun at our first annual Heart + Sole Walk and Back To School Family festival! We want to thank all of our sponsors and everyone who came out to support our mission to make the world a more kind and understanding place for those with skin conditions.
We had an amazing time celebrating the launch of our brand new SKIN DISCOVERY BOXES, a very special collaboration with our friends at CeraVe! CeraVe’s tireless pursuit of therapeutic skincare for all is truly more than skin deep and we couldn’t be more thankful. We celebrated in style thanks to our friends at Star Cinema …
A Children’s House for the Soul believes that it takes a village to support a child and family impacted by skin disease and birthmarks and that we are all better together.
Open House and Ribbon Cutting/Bring A Children’s House Home: On June 5th we began a very exciting new chapter of our A Children’s House story in the form of opening up our new beautiful space to serve children and teenagers with skin conditions and birthmarks and their families. This space includes a salon, a library & craft space, a teen room, and more! We also debuted our incredible new custom mural from up and coming local artist Eli Pallaert.
Our Family Trivia night was oh so much fun, and a huge success! We had so much fun getting to reconnect with all our friends and enjoy some laughs while snacking out on pizza and snowcones!
In honor of Vascular Birthmark Awareness Month, our childlife specialist Lindsay O’Sullivan had a great conversation with Jose about growing up with his special masterpiece skin!
In this interview, Ally shares about her experiences growing up with Ichthyosis. Ally shares how: Meeting other kids with special skin can help kids to feel less isolated and give them a very special sense of comradery and understanding. Parents don’t have to do everything perfectly to be the perfect parent for their child and …
What a wonderful time to relax, enjoy friendly company, and share their hearts on being a mama to a kiddo or teen with special skin. It was truly so special! These mamas were made a masterpiece!
Vascular birthmarks are very common in children. These birthmarks are made of blood vessels in the skin and can occur anywhere on the body. They may be pink or red in color, blue or purplish, flat or raised. Since they are vascular, sometimes they will feel warm to touch and may change in color with …
We have some exciting updates about our Capital Campaign! Learn about our short and long term plans for our own space.
You Can’t Teach What Has No History “This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of …
In honor of Ectodermal Dysplasia Awareness month in February, we sat down with two of our dearest friends Zach and his mama Susan! Zach is an avid golfer, an Aggie, and is affected by Ectodermal Dysplasia. Susan and Zach teach us about ED and the importance of finding community. They also had helpful tips and …
Join us for a fun and inspiring interview with this incredible lady Ana Maria! Ana Maria Triana is 15 years old and the author of How to Conquer Alopecia Universalis. Ana Maria gives heartfelt advice, shares wisdom beyond her years, and will leave you feeling full of compassion and confidence. A Children’s House for the …
In honor of the upcoming National Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) Awareness week, we wanted to share this great piece from our friend, Rachael Wrobel about how her mama mothered her well, even despite the challenges of EB.
I am fortunate enough to be Mama to three little girls. Shortly after my eldest daughter’s first birthday (about 4 years ago) I noticed her hair was thinning. I was told by many it was just typical baby hair loss until it just couldn’t be described at “typical” any longer.
After the last several months of this pandemic, I think we are all well-versed in how important it is to wash our hands so that we don’t spread germs. But with all this hand washing and sanitizing, dry skin, eczema breakouts, and contact dermatitis have become even more troublesome. What can we do about it?