Every year, thousands of children, estimated to be one in 10, are born with facial birthmarks or differences known as vascular birthmarks. The majority are not cancerous and do not require surgical treatment. However, there are some vascular birthmarks that can threaten vision, compromise breathing, and disfigure facial features. In these cases, the care of a specialist is required.
Sadly, children with facial anomalies are often teased and bullied. They are all too familiar with glances, stares, and questions. If you are the parent of a child with a vascular birthmark, let your child know they are not alone. There are thousands of children like them with facial differences. Remind them of your constant love and the compassionate support of the entire team at Vascular Birthmark Institute of New York.
If you are the parent of a child that meets or knows a child with a birthmark, your guidance can help establish how they will treat others for years to come. Here are some ways you can guide the conversation with your children about kids with vascular birthmarks.
It is natural and beneficial for a child to be curious and ask questions. This leads to discussion and education. Let your kids know that questions are okay.
- Distinguish the child from the birthmark
Who a child is as a person has nothing to do with a birthmark.
- Talk about commonalities
Encourage your child to learn more about others in order to discover similarities. Does she have a dog or a cat? What’s her favorite color? Does he like baseball or pizza, too? Does she have a doll like yours?
- Celebrate the differences
Make sure the child knows that we are each unique and differences are not a negative thing. Some differences are more visible than others. Open discussion allows for conversation that is positive and fosters appreciation of all the ways people can be different in our diverse society.
- Let them know that joking is not okay
Teach them that name calling hurts feelings.
- Teach them not to whisper or stare.
Whispering and staring is hurtful. Talk to your kids about how this can make other children feel.
Vascular malformations can tremendously impact the entire family of a child who was born with one. The entire team at Vascular Birthmark Institute of New York urges all parents to utilize our resources, information and support to model compassionate and friendly interactions toward children with vascular birthmarks. Together we can make a difference.