Practical Parenting for Eczema Families – Video Series

Along with ESA Managing Director Melanie Funk, the videos feature insights and wisdom from two renowned experts:

  • Dr Justin Coulson PhD: Co-host and parenting expert on Channel 9’s “Parental Guidance”, founder of happyfamiles.com.au and one of Australia’s most trusted parenting experts.
  • Dr Lauren Kunde: Dr Lauren Kunde is a Fellow of the Australasian College of Dermatologists.  She specializes in general dermatology and pediatric dermatology. Lauren practices in a Brisbane clinic and publicly at the Queensland Children’s Hospital.

Watch the seven-part video series below, and feel free to leave a comment at the bottom of this page to share your thoughts and personal experience on parenting children with eczema.

Sleep Deprivation

Sleep deprivation is one of the most debilitating challenges of raising a child with eczema. Lack of sleep leads to big emotions, ineffective parenting, lack of intimacy for a couple, and distress for everyone in the family. 

Nearly 30% of children with atopic dermatitis experience disrupted sleep five or more nights a week, which can lead to daytime sleepiness, irritability, inattention and moodiness.

Relationships

Raising a child with eczema places tremendous strain on relationships. There are struggles with sibling relationships – sometimes there’s jealousy where the child without eczema wants attention like the child with eczema receives; sometimes there’s teasing, where a sibling has an unfortunate moment of unkindness towards a sufferer. 

Another relationship issue could occur when a child with eczema might experience exclusion from friends. And there are secondary relationship challenges where exhausted, stressed parents experience friction related to their suffering child.

Behavioural Issues

There’s one thing for certain when it comes to raising children: from time to time, you’re going to experience challenging behaviour. Add a painful and irritable skin condition and watch those challenges multiply. 

Children behave in challenging ways – not because they’re trying to test you – but because they’re feeling challenged. When you feel lousy, you act lousy. Same for the kids. Maybe they are in pain, sleep deprived, or they hate wearing scratch sleeves or using creams and medications. Perhaps they’ve learned to scratch to get what they want.

Condition All Consuming

Caring for a child with eczema can become all-consuming for some parents. When eczema is severe, parents can experience significant distress as they search for a cure to ease the seemingly relentless pain their child suffers through. And, in some cases, being an “eczema parent” can become a part of some mums’ or dads’ identity. 

The family often suffers too, with exhausted and protective parents unable or unwilling to do much beyond their basic responsibilities and caring for their child.

 

Misinformation & Misunderstanding

The world is full of people with opinions on just about everything. This includes eczema! What’s amazing is that some people know all about international politics, bitcoin, COVID-19, eczema, and naked mole rats! These people usually hang out on Twitter and Facebook 🙂 But are they helpful for you as you raise a child who is suffering from eczema? And what is the best way to respond? 

There are lots of well-meaning, but ultimately uninformed, people who offer advice. Sometimes they’re random bigmouths on the internet. Sometimes they’re a loving mother or neighbour who really just wants to help. But how do you respond to misinformation?

 

Anxiety and Self Esteem

Research suggests that children with eczema, particularly atopic dermatitis are more likely to experience bullying in school and social isolation because of activity restrictions due to the disease. 

While findings on mental health outcomes are mixed there is research to suggest they may also be at some risk of mood disorders like anxiety. Fortunately psychology research gives us plenty of points for how we can reduce these risks and help our children thrive, even while facing the challenges of eczema.

Eczema at School or Early Learning

When it comes time to hand over the care of your child to school or early learning centre staff, it can be difficult.

We discuss ways to share the care and get on the same page with the management and understanding of your child’s eczema. 

Coping with Comorbidities

As if having a child with eczema isn’t enough, sometimes our children suffer additional challenges. These might be physical – like asthma – or psychological, like anxiety. Perhaps they could even be neurological – ADHD is an example of this. We want answers. We want to know how to fix things. We want to make it all better. 

Truth is, sometimes we can help… but sometimes we can’t. Life can be messy and complicated. But there are some things we can always keep in mind.

1 Comment

  1. Susan on March 25, 2022 at 9:20 AM

    I need these videos.
    I need them because they validate everything I’ve been through. My son is now old enough(5yo) to understand his condition and he can ask for help or explain his feelings. But these videos bring back all the feelings of a newborn suffering intense pain.

    Thank you, from the bottom of my broken, crying heart, thank you.

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