There was a survey done by the National Eczema Association (NEA), to examine the links between eczema and bullying of children in school. It is found from the children’s caregiver or parent that at least one in five children with eczema gets bullied in school because of their skin disorder. 75 percent from those same caregivers or parents reported that their child who was bullied had lowered self-esteem as a result of it.
From the NEA results alone we can see that to a child, eczema is not only a physical annoyance and discomfort but it also impacts their social abilities and self-confidence. Especially when it comes to dealing with other children in school.
Therefore apart from focusing on treating and managing eczema in children one needs to also understand and address the psychosocial challenges that come with this disease. The way that it affects a child’s self-esteem, mood, confidence and ability to build and manage relationships can have a significant impact in the child’s life in the future.
Each Play Their Role
When children with eczema go back to school they usually have a hard time because of how the eczema symptoms appear on their skin. The parts of the skin that are affected will be visibly dry, red or inflamed. The occasional itching and pain does not help in this situation as well. Children may find themselves constantly scratching it.
Classmates who have no understanding of this constant scratching and red patches from the child with eczema may tease, taunt or bully them. This unfortunately puts the bullied child in a difficult situation and can often lead to isolation. To prevent this type of bullying will take efforts and cooperations from guardians, teachers and even students to each play their roles.
Guardians And Parents
Apart from treating the eczema itself parents need to take note of their child’s social behavior with other people as well. Especially at this young age where they are still learning the basic skills of social interaction.
Have activities or read books and watch movies that can instill values such as self esteem or promote positive thinking. Be involved in your children’s activities and constantly encourage them to understand people who are different.
According to another recent study by National Eczema Association, 60 percent of parents with eczema children feel that their child’s teacher does not understand eczema. Teachers play an important role especially when needed to handle children in school. Parents can actually help them by informing them of their child’s conditions or giving them information about eczema so that teachers can be aware of this chronic condition. This awareness is important so that the teachers can also understand the psychosocial impact it may bring to a child’s self-esteem in school.
However with all things being said, managing eczema in school and particularly in the classroom is not an easy task – for both the child and teacher. An ordinary school day can be easily filled with eczema triggers, from simple things such as carpets, using standard hand wash in school, outdoor activities or art and craft sessions are all potential triggers.
Awareness is the beginning of change. Although change may not come easy and it takes time, being aware of situations is a good start. Both the symptoms and treatment of eczema can create stressful environments for a child to grow up in. So as parents, beginning to understand the fact that this skin condition can bring about more serious social and emotional consequences for their child’s future can help them be more prepared to tackle it. Hopefully this insight can further help parents understand more about what children with eczema go through and find ways to guide and support them through it all.