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hankbartenbach 04-12-2005 06:06 AM

Social Issues
Hi everybody,

I know a few parents where talking about wanting to learn more about the social issues that your children might run into as they get older.

There are different stages of social issues in my opinion.

First stage:

In the years before a child starts school they are still developing in their mind. They might have a few friends of the family, or kids in the neighberhood. If these friends are in the same age group and going to be in the same school/grade they can be a factor in how your child makes friends in school. I suggest a lot of get togethers (with the parents), birthday parties, etc, etc. You want to have the other children to not feel uneasy around your child (accepting them for who they are).

Second Stage:

Elementry school will be very hard for your child. I had many days coming home crying because kids are very mean. Have sleep overs, birthday parties, continue the get togethers. I had ADHD/ADD when I was in this stage and I felt stupid sometimes because I was in Special ED thru High School.
In Elementry school I had to take meds to control my hypyerness which made me feel different.

Third Stage:

Middle school will be a little better since the kids will be starting to mature and go into puberty. Dating issues will start to come up, but that is a different topic. Suggest trying encourage your child to particapate in school activities: Band, sports, art, or what ever he/she is interested in.

This will be the stage where if your child feels like an outsider he/she will start getting into trouble for attention.

Four Stage:

High School and the begining of adult hood.
This is the stage when your child will know his/her place. I was kind of lonely in high school. No relationships or dating. I had a lot of guy and girl friends but that was it.
By this time not very many people made jokes about my PWS. Teenagers are Teenagers at this point.

It depends on the condition of your child whether they are safe to live on their own. Some with SWS are not because of seizure activity, and will live with their parents for their life. Most of the children will be on their own after school, as long as they have a goal in sight. Do not let your child think just because they have a VB does not mean they can not live out their dreams!!!!

If people say you can't do it, tell your child to prove them wrong. It will fuel them to succeed.

This is just my opinion, and remember I lived in the same town growing up. I know moving around must be even harder for the child. Dyan can add to this.

I guess taking childhood education and psycology classes pay off after a while hu.

If anybody has any questions or comments please ask. If I do not know the answer someone here probably does.


Dyan 04-12-2005 04:22 PM

Re: Social Issues

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.
:o 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.' :o

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.

Take care,

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

hankbartenbach 04-12-2005 05:15 PM

Re: Social Issues
Thank you Dyan for your opinion.

I truely do think the reason of difference is gender I am glad you got the insight on the moving. I never had that problem.

I do want to point out one thing though. Make up, for a guy make up does not work well in school. I had make up when I was in elementry and a guy found out and I was the laughing stock of the school.
It was not until I was in college when I got a newer kind of make up. Cosmetic make up I got from a cosmetic surgeon. They matched it up and everything. I look like a ghost, but it works if I am out in the public around people that do not know me. If he/she has a hyperplaged (puffed out) area it will look swellen bruise thru the make sup.

Thanks again Dyan for your input on the subject.


tweety 06-01-2005 01:54 AM

Re: Social Issues
hank you should not be afrad to show your trow colours
because i never used makeup and my social life is fine

Miriam 06-03-2005 08:09 PM

Re: Social Issues
Hello all,

Just a comment on socializing kids (playgroups, birthday parties). While I agree itís best not to shelter kids from reality, some kids are introverts by nature, not because of their birthmarks. Until I was about six or seven, not a soul teased me about my birthmarks, but I was nonetheless very introverted pretty much from birth (well, so Iím told :)). Iíve always just found social activity too draining to enjoy much of it. Forcing a naturally introverted kid to go to birthday parties and such can do more harm than good and may cause behavioral problems that wouldnít be there otherwise. Take a look at (Hint: introverts, calico or otherwise, hate surprise parties!). After all, underneath our birthmarks, weíre human beings who are allowed to have personalities, right?

hankbartenbach 06-03-2005 11:37 PM

Re: Social Issues
Thanks Tweety that makes me feel better.


Thank you for the info, I will have to look into it. Also, thanks for sharing your point of view on this topic it is interesting seeing what other people think about this.

Thanks again,


hanisah 05-07-2006 11:57 AM

hi all..

I think family play a very important part in the child development.

My family and friends are the group of people i can feel very comfortable with. Sometime i dont even remember having my birthmark when i am around them. I think it is because my family did not make any comment about my birthmark. I dont like it when people treat me differently because i have birthmark.

Well thats me.. might not apply to every individual.:p

sweet pea 07-08-2006 07:55 PM

i think its great to get together with groups and friends. I know it helped me. I have always been a shy/quiet girl, but my mom pushed me to go and hang out with the other kids and im glad she did. I don't really remember feeling weird or different around other kids when i was young. It was when i got older that i really noticed it. At around 7th grade, i started noticing peope making comment s and so on. Thats when it really started to bug me. I went to a private school and all of the girls were very clicky so it was hard to "fit in". Though i did find great friends that i still hang out with today. I would say junior high was the worst for me. Though everyone is different, but thats what it was for me....

hankbartenbach 07-10-2006 03:42 AM

Hi Stephanie,

Thank you for your imput on this subject. I would like to hear from more people what they think of it. Since so many people grow up in so many different ways. Plus, it makes a big difference between guys and girls.

Thanks again.


sweet pea 07-11-2006 08:42 PM

thats very true... girls and guys have it very different... and because i went to a private school, i think that made it harder. Girls are very clicky in general and when your in a class of 36 seventh graders in all, its a lot worse.

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