As any parent can attest, every child is different and what may be no more than a blip on the radar to one child may feel like the end of the world to another. And this can change on a daily basis! If your child has recently been diagnosed, they may not express any anxiety they are feeling directly, but it may become apparent in moodiness, social withdrawal, tears, a decline in academic results at school.
Or there may be no reaction at all. It’s important for you, as a parent, to be aware that your child may feel unsettled at the thought that “there is something wrong” and at the thought of ongoing treatment. Try to be as well informed as you can so that you can answer their questions as they arise. Or if you don’t know, commit to finding an answer rather than brushing the question aside.
It’s a good idea to have a chat to your child’s teacher (or Year Advisor for High School children). Let them know what’s happening and ask them to watch out for any signs at school that may be linked to underlying anxiety. Children entering their teens are likely to just want to be one of the crowd and may feel embarrassed or self-conscious about wearing a brace. Try to take these concerns seriously and discuss them empathetically. Let them know you don’t have all the answers, but you are there for them as a sounding board. It may be helpful to enlist the help of a family member or trusted friend who the child may feel more comfortable speaking to. Often, emotions get in the way of common-sense advice, and it’s good to have an impartial person to offer insights.
In some cases, your child may be teased or bullied for wearing a brace. It’s probably best to nip this in the bud immediately and speak to the principal of your child’s school. All schools have very strong anti-bullying policies in place, but they need to know it’s happening to be able to address it.
For parents of children who are now undergoing self-isolation or lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic, this will be a tough time for you too! There will be lots to juggle and living in close quarters will only add to stress levels for the whole family. As with everything, keeping routine can be helpful. If your child has been given scoliosis exercises, make them part of the daily schedule, make them fun, or even do your own exercise program alongside your child. Let them know you’re in this together.
As with anything throughout the teenage years – this won’t last forever, and you and your child will come out the other side stronger and wiser as a result of your experiences.
Good luck, and don’t forget to arrange a TeleHealth consultation with the ScoliCare Clinics team if you can’t come into the clinic. We are here to continue caring for patients with consultations, support, and advice.
This article was written by Trish Halls, ScoliCare.
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