Handling Questions – Alopecia Tips for Kids

Have you ever been asked a question about your alopecia? How did it make you feel?

Sometimes questions can be okay. Other times, it can be annoying or upsetting, and you may not want to answer.

Why do people ask questions about your hair?

Lots of people have Alopecia Areata. Yet some people don’t know much about this condition. Some people may have never even heard of it. People might ask about your hair because they don’t understand and are curious.

Sometimes, people think that the hair loss is caused by something else. They might ask specific questions, like “Do you have cancer?”. In this case, people might be asking because they feel worried about or concern for you.

How can you respond to questions about your hair?

There are three main ways you can respond to questions.

Not discussing it
Giving a short answer
Giving a longer answer

If you don’t want to discuss it…

You can let people know that you don’t want to talk about it right now.
Try saying something like:

  • “I don’t really like to talk about it.”
  • “I’d rather we didn’t discuss it right now.”
  • “I don’t want to talk about my hair – can we talk about something else?”

If you’d like to give a short answer…

Try something like

  • “It’s called Alopecia Areata.”
  • “I’m not sick – it’s alopecia.”
  • “My hair just doesn’t grow.”

If you like, you can add in a little extra information like

  • “You can’t catch it.”
  • “It doesn’t hurt”
  • “I’m perfectly healthy.”

This extra information can help to reassure people who are worried about you.

If you don’t want to talk in detail, it can help to change the subject after. Anything can be a good topic – “I really like your dress – where is it from?” or “What is your favourite movie?” or “Did you do the homework question?”

If you’d like to give a longer answer…

With a longer answer, it is really up to you want you would like to share. You might want to tell them that alopecia affects 1 in 50 people. You could say how long you’ve had the condition, or whether you like to wear wigs, or hats.

It’s a great chance to let people know what you like and what you don’t like. For example, you can say that you don’t mind answering questions, but don’t like your head being touched. Or maybe that you are fine with showing off your wig, but it’s important no one tries it on, as it could get damaged.

What works best for you will be personal. Take the time to think about how you might want to respond and what you’d like to share.

How do you decide which type of response is right?

There is no right way to respond to questions – just what is right for you at that time. Which option you go with might depend on things like:

  • Who is asking? Are they someone you know and are comfortable with, or a stranger?
  • How much or little do you want to say? You get to choose.
  • What is the situation? Are you in a quiet place, with few people? Or is it very busy or public?
  • How are you feeling? Different days feel different. If you’re having a rough day, you might not want to share, and that’s okay.

How to get better at responding to questions

Prepare and practice!

It can be really helpful to prepare in advance. You can do this by thinking about what kinds of things you would like to say and how you would like to respond.

You can then practice your responses with the help of a family member or friend. The friend/family member can pretend to ask a question, and you can practice your answer. Then reflect on if that answer felt right to you, or if you would like to try something else.

 

How do you handle questions about your alopecia? What advice do you wish you could give your younger self?

AAAF has a range of support materials and resources on our website, including special resources for young people and for parents.

4 thoughts on “Handling Questions – Alopecia Tips for Kids

Add yours

  1. My daughter erin is about to become 16 has alopecia , she is interested in finding people of her age with this condition and also the camp , I’m her mum Tracey
    Any info would be appreciated
    Thank you

    Like

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