Hey, dad, school bells are ringing. It’s tough enough for your child to fit in – and now he has to worry about a red gumball on his face.
Do you remember how it was when you were a teenager? You got out of bed, staggered into the bathroom. The image in the mirror screamed at you. A big red cherry zit on the chin. It’s a curse you didn’t deserve. You took the advice of your friend with satin skin. You gave up chocolate. You forfeited soft drinks. You washed your face 12 times a day with a soap you couldn’t pronounce and a smell straight out of the medicine cabinet. You went through mounds of cotton balls to use bottles of something that must have had an atomic number. But there it was anyway…big, shiny, rotating on your chin like a fire truck’s roof ornament. You wanted to take up residence inside a sterile plastic bubble.
You had every right to get upset. You had one clogged pore that decided to appear center stage on your face in the starring role of a cherry tomato. It was nasty and painful. The last one you remember emerged just in time for the spring prom. It even glowed in the dark. You tried covering it up. You tried surgery. Your own. A flashing neon light at the end of your nose would have been better – at least you could have turned it off.
It’s not a curse
Dad, if your teenager is unfortunate enough to be plagued by facial acne, tell him or her that it’s due to chemical reactions in one’s body. It is not a curse. It is not a punishment from God. It just happens, and all one can do is get through it. You are not alone – you have lots of company. Zits are no fun to live with. However, worrying about them may just make them worse. When others around them are plagued, your children might wonder why they couldn’t have had theirs, as well. It’s hard to laugh them off.
Maybe a test of character
There may be nothing more difficult for your child than to be the object of ridicule. It hurts. Sometimes those emotional scars take a long time to heal if they ever do. But being made fun of can make a person stronger. Oddly enough, being made fun of occasionally can sometimes help a person develop compassion for others – even empathy. “Empathy” is a soft, gentle word that means putting oneself in the shoes of another, imagining how it feels to be inside someone else’s skin.
Dad, impress upon your son or daughter that they are no less a person because of a skin imperfection. Anyone who makes fun of a person who has done nothing to earn an embarrassing zit has a much bigger problem than zits. At least zits will eventually go away. The offending person has to live with something that will never go away – himself.
Tom Tozer and Bill Black are authors of “Dads2Dads: Tools for Raising Teenagers.” Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @dads2dadsllc. Contact them at [email protected]