Cruelty in our world is a sad fact, even among children. When your child has a visible birthmark, this can provide fodder for teasing and ridicule. Even children that mean no harm can stare or call attention to a birthmark and contribute to self-esteem issues or embarrassment for your child. Preparing your child to handle ridicule because of a birthmark is an important part of your role as a parent.
Set the Example Yourself
As a parent, you have enormous influence on your child’s development. How you handle the issue of a visible birthmark sets the tone for the entire subject. Follow these suggestions for dealing with this topic and its possible repercussions.
Do not call undue attention to the birthmark. Avoid fixing your gaze on it or studying it during down times. If you make an issue out of a visible birthmark and constantly acknowledge it or refer to it, it becomes more important in your child’s mind. However, do not avoid the subject altogether. When your child poses questions, answer them appropriately for their age and level of understanding. Be open and available to discuss the topic without patronizing. Do not allow your child to use the birthmark as an excuse for underachieving or avoiding things.
Focus on Education
Answer all questions honestly with the facts. Help your child to understand that birthmarks are quite common, with about one in every ten children having one. Refute rumors or wives’ tales about birthmarks with the truth. As your child gets older, encourage them to learn all they can about their particular birthmark.
Separate Identity from the Birthmark
Be sure that your child does not think of themselves as “that kid with the birthmark” at your house. They are a unique and special individual who just happens to have a birthmark. The birthmark does not define them or dictate who they can or will become. By teaching your child to separate the birthmark from their own personal identity, you will help to prepare them for handling negative attention and mistreatment by others.
Equip Your Child with the Proper Tools
Not every child is taught the proper ways to relate to other children, especially those who have some unique characteristic like a visible birthmark. Every child is naturally curious and there will be some that ask questions. Teach your child the difference between honest inquiries and ridicule. They should answer innocent questions with facts. Ridicule should be ignored as much as possible. If it becomes problematic, a teacher or other responsible adult should be informed.
Building your child’s self-esteem as a well-rounded and special person is part of the role of every parent, but is it especially important when your child has a visible birthmark. Their confidence and security with themselves and their place in the world lays the foundation for successfully navigating ridicule or other negative treatment from others.
Our specialists at The Vascular Birthmark Institute can offer more help, recommendations and resources to help you equip your child for dealing with negative reactions to their birthmark. Contact us today and schedule a consultation to discuss this all-important concern with one of our team members.