21: Parenting a Child (and an adult) with Alopecia

Newsflash: I’m not a parent, and will never pretend to have all the answers about this topic.  What I do have is a great mother who has continuously set solid examples of how to parent a kid (now an adult) when the going in life gets rough.  Looking back on those examples helps me understand where I’ve come from and how I’ve become the person I am.  I interviewed my mom for this installation, and share with you some of her carrots of wisdom here:

  1. Trust your gut because no one knows your kid better than you.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If they’re in your mind they’re worthy of being asked.  And if you don’t get answers that make sense to you, keep asking until they do.  The answers are out there even if they haven’t yet materialized.
  3. Be confident. In doing so you show your child that they can find safe harbor in you, and you set a healthy example of how to deal when life throws a curveball.
  4. That said, trust your need for vulnerability, too.  That way you show your kid it’s okay to express hurt, anger, fear, etc. and how to rally the forces that will help.
  5. Most important of all, love your kid. Of course, this goes without saying, but as a woman who lost her hair as an adult I can’t tell you how nourishing and confidence-boosting my mother’s unconditional love has been.  Whether I’m greeting her at a family event with my loveliest wig on, or walking around her kitchen hairless and helping her prep for dinner, she couldn’t care less because all she cares about is the fact that I’m there with her.

If you’re still looking for resources (because the sense of isolation that comes from dealing with alopecia is not lost on me), reach out the the National Alopecia Areata Foundation (naaf.org) for links to online and in-person supports.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s