How to talk about psoriasis

Talk to your children about psoriasis, and teach them about triggers and how to avoid them. Explain how important treatment is, and how important it is for him or her to use their moisturizer and medicine. Your child might also need help in deciding how to handle comments from other children about the appearance of their skin during a flare-up. If your child is old enough, help him or her find ways to explain that psoriasis is not contagious, and how to discuss it with schoolmates.

Be involved with your children and listen to them. Be honest and age-appropriate when you are explaining the basics of psoriasis to your children.

Tips for parents

  • Ask a child how they're feeling inside, and be aware of how psoriasis affects your child's emotions. Symptoms of depression, for example, include withdrawn behavior, changed sleep patterns, frequent crying, not playing with friends, or changes in appetite.
  • Emphasize a child's strengths, especially when he or she is feeling "low" because of the psoriasis.
  • Offer alternative family or individual activities if your child isn't feeling up to socializing. Engage them in a game, music, book or physical activity.
  • Let your child play an active part in deciding which treatments options to try. Work with your doctor, dermatologist or pediatrician to explain the pros and cons of each type of medication.

Helping your child cope with the emotional aspects
Some children may feel angry, frustrated, or sad about having psoriasis. You might explain that meeting other children with psoriasis can help prevent negative feelings related to this skin condition. It might also help if your child understands how to talk about it in social situations.

You should also:

  • Learn the facts about psoriasis (see our disease database article on psoriasis).
  • Practice responses to questions people may ask about their skin.
  • Become comfortable talking about psoriasis and educating others about psoriasis. If your child is having problems at school with classmates, talk to the teacher or talk to the class. Help explain the basics of psoriasis.
  • Join activities and groups, either with other people who have psoriasis or not.
  • Reassure them that they have a common skin condition, not something "weird."
  • Expect that they may still be upset, frustrated or angry at times, but with practice these feelings will subside.
  • Focus on the positive- enjoy fun activities, friends, sports and hobbies.
  • Remind them that there is more to life than psoriasis, and each person is much more than their skin's appearance.

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