This is a difficult topic because everyone's situation is a little bit different.* My experience was quite a bit different from Hank's.* I don't know whether it is a male/female thing, or if it is because we moved at the times that we did, or if it was just me.* Regardless, here is how the stages went for me:
Stage One (0-6):
This all went pretty good.* Young kids are very accepting.* I was very social and did a lot with kids in the neighbourhood.* I do think that Hank is right in that it is important not to isolate children - it will only make dealing with the realities of life more difficult in the long run.
Stage Two (Grade 1- Grade 6):
This stage was pretty good for me.* We moved in Grade 1, but a friend of mine moved to the same place, at the same time, so I had some outside consisitency, other than just my immediate family.* I had a great group of friends,* a couple of which I'm still close with today.*
Stage Three (Grade 7 - Grade 11/12)
Late grade 6, early grade 7 - puberty hits.* Ich.* Yeesh.* How to explain this one. . . . :-\
We moved about a month into Grade 7.* The cliques had already formed.* Teenage girls can be extremely mean and there just isn't a darn thing that parent's can do about it.* Tears started and I started feeling like an outsider.* My parents were great, it's just something that everyone has to deal with.* At a time when all you want in life is to fit in and be normal, I saw myself as different - whether that caused me to appear weak and a target, or whether my birthmark made me one, I don't know.
I didn't have a lot of friends, but the ones that I had were great!* Looking back on it now, I was truly blessed in that aspect.*
Stage Four (everything after):
I settled into myself (as teenagers do).* I was still pretty shy and introverted.* When I was 20, my dad was injured on the job (he was a police officer - he's okay) and after I came out of my initial shock, I realized that life was too short and this is the only one I've got.* So, I decided to make the most of it . . . and things have been pretty great ever since.
Now, all that being said, I don't have the complications that many people have.* I have a flat birthmark with no associated conditions.
Like Hank said, socialization is extremely important.* It is important to help your child learn how people will react and how he/she will react to their reaction.* These are lessons they will learn and adapt their entire lives and need to be started early.
If you have the option, pay attention to the timing of any moves that you may have to make.* This isn't to say don't do it - my life is truly enriched by the people that I've met - but timing can be critical.* First, try arrive for the first day of class (when all the other new kids arrive).* Being the new kid is bad enough.* Being the weird new kid is worse.* Second, pay attention to the stage your child is at.* Finding yourself as a teenager can be hard enough - finding yourself in a new situation learning how to find yourself with an H can be downright awful.* Did I mention, puberty sucks.
Treatment is great, but realize that there may be times when your child just doesn't want to deal with it.* Respect those times, give them a few months and bring it up casually, if at all.* If/when they decide to go back, they'll let you know.* Treatment is good, but I found that it also made me focus on that aspect of myself a lot - sometimes you just don't have the energy for it.* This is more for ongoing treatment, rather than those who are just starting out.
I would also* recommend taking the time (and possibly the money) to find someone who can teach your child to apply concealing makeup properly.* I'm 29 and just had my first lesson in how to do this over Christmas.* I would recommend finding a product rep for the product your child uses.* They will find the proper shade - the line I'm using how has 40 shades - the proper formulas and the specific techniques to use to get the best results for them.
To give you an idea of how things have changed, the first derm I saw (I think I was in grade 5 or 6) told my parents to get me some blush, because it would 'draw people's attention from my birthmark to my cheeks.'
Well, I think that's enough for now.* I hope I haven't bored you to tears.* I seem to have rambled on quite a bit. :-X*
Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.
p.s. One addition. Sites like this are great. It took me until I was 24 to meet someone with a birhmark similar to mine. If at all possible, make introductions, even if they are over the internet to people (preferably of the same age group) with birthmarks. I think this would help with the 'I'm the only one' aspect of things . . . D