Eczema – Helping Your Teen Take Responsibility

Sending a child back to school can be a difficult thing for some parents – especially when they suffer from eczema-prone skin.

Let’s be honest, we live in a society that is incredibly focused on appearance, and as an adult you remember how challenging those grade school and high school years were. 

Eczema impacts every aspect of their life; acceptance, how to feel, where to go, and what to wear.  As a parent, nothing is more painful than knowing that your child wants to disappear because of their eczema flares.

You’ve emotionally supported and managed their symptoms from childhood, but now that they are getting older and gaining more independence, you need to teach them that their skin is their responsibility. 

Teaching your teen to take control of their eczema is an important part of transitioning from adolescent into adulthood. 


Social Concerns

The social consequences of eczema are often the hardest part for children during grade school and high school. These are naturally self-conscious years and eczema flares just adds extra social pressure to scenarios that are already tough enough. Eczema is always at the front of their minds and impacts every decision.  Be proactive and apply some of these techniques:

  • Urge them to prioritize their care and comfort first and worry about social concerns second.  If someone looks at them funny, they must learn to just roll with it and keep going on with their day.

  • Help them discover healthy ways to handle the stress of eczema. 
    1. Get as much sleep as possible because it’s your body’s natural healing state.
    2. Find ways to relax; prayer, meditation, reading, or watching a favorite movie.
    3. Keep communications open. Help them manage their emotions and talk through their struggles.  Urge them to find someone to share their feelings with, whether it’s you, a friend, or a counselor. 

    Several studies suggest connections between severe eczema and mental health issues like anxiety and depression. Research indicates that teens with eczema are more likely to have suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide so communication is important.

Develop a Treatment Routine

Teenagers need a routine and they need to learn time management.  Teens with eczema prone skin need to budget additional time for skincare treatments in order to keep their eczema under control.  Managing eczema is a prerequisite and should be treated as a necessity, not a chore. 

This isn’t easy for parents, because teens tend to rebel against anything their parents tell them they need to do.  But it’s key in easing the transition of responsibility away from parents.

The longer you put this off, the worse your problems are going to be.  There is no reason why they shouldn’t shoulder this responsibility, especially if it will make them feel better.

A big part of having them take responsibility for their skin is to teach them to pay attention to what triggers their flares.  Knowledge is power and for your eczema-prone teen, it’s also safety.

It might mean food allergies or environmental factors.  Have them keep a journal about things that might irritate their eczema so that they can learn to avoid or reduce their chances of triggering a flare.

Getting Started

As a parent to a child with eczema you already understand how challenging it can be to manage this condition and teaching your teen to take control can be tricky. To a teen it can make growing up seem even more daunting.

But there’s another way to approach this…  Eczema gives your child the strength to endure challenges that other teens will never understand. 

Give them the kind of support that empowers them to overcome these types of obstacles which will make them successful adults.  By learning to take care of themselves, they will mature quicker which will help them develop their character and give them a greater sense of empathy towards others. 

There will be times that they get discouraged.  Let them wallow in it for a while, but don’t let them get stuck there.  Have them break it down into manageable tasks that allow them to feel like they are in control and comfortable in their skin.

As they learn to take control of their own eczema skincare, it’s important for them to know that they are not alone and that they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help when they need it.  Asking for help doesn’t make them weak.  Transitioning into a responsible adult that takes care of themselves, while daunting, is far from impossible. 

Take it one day at a time, keep going, and you’ll get through it.

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August 13, 2019 12:50 pm

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