Scoliosis significantly impacts the shape of a teenager’s body – his shoulders, hips, rib cage, and definitely his back. Often, these alterations can impact the way they perceive their body images and themselves as well.
Bad body image does not often relate to the extent of the curve. Your teen might have a moderately minor curve and be bothered by their body image. He could decline to wear tight tops or bathing suits. On the contrary, your ten might have a major curve and alterations to his body shape without having issues with his body image.
Having been diagnosed with scoliosis may significantly induce stress on your teenager. When he was previously diagnosed, your teen could have felt fear, withdrawal, anxiety, and depression. These emotions could improve eventually.
If your teen needs to don a brace before surgery, he could face more challenges, such as feeling indifferent, teasing and bullying by his schoolmates, and argument with you as parents about why he has to wear the brace.
If your teen, on the other hand, requires surgery, he could face other issues, including:
- Concerns about having to miss school or fail in school
- Problems with activities that he won’t be able to perform following surgery
- Fear of having the surgery, including its risks
- Problems concerning pain following surgery
Other concerns that would make it challenging to adjust to the diagnosis include:
- Past challenges with managing other circumstances
- Denial, which means declining to acknowledge the scoliosis diagnosis and its treatment
- Constant family problems
- Prolonged scoliosis treatment
- History of being ridiculed or badgered at school
- You, your teen, or other family members have a pre-existing mental health condition like depression, eating disorder, or anxiety, among others.
Conversely, not all teens with scoliosis respond negatively. A certain study revealed that about 40% of teenagers were not worried about being diagnosed with the condition, and 50% of teens that have undergone surgery claimed that they felt more free and mature. Nevertheless, if you are troubled or if your teen has shared his worries with you, be sure that you inform his surgeon as soon as possible.
Dealing With Anxiety
It is typical for teenagers to have increased stress levels before having surgery. Indications of stress include restlessness, worry, irritability, tension, nervousness, and tension. These symptoms are occasionally felt as depression or anxiety.
Learning to deal with stress requires practice. Your teen might find it beneficial to think about and learn techniques for managing stress before going into surgery. These techniques can also be utilized to deal with pain experienced following surgery.
Knowing what to anticipate from the surgery can tremendously help children be more relieved and confident about the outcomes. Urge your teen always to ask questions and be assertive about any concerns he has before his surgery. It may also be helpful for you and your teen to first study the reasons why your teen needs surgery.
Dealing With Hospital Admission
Being admitted to the hospital can be tough for kids, particularly for teenagers. Adolescence is a period when peer relationships, privacy, independence, and body image are crucially important. Surgery and recovery for scoliosis can affect each aspect as teenagers rely on others to meet their standards, time required to be away from school, and experience modifications on physical appearance.
In the hospital, your teen is urged to:
- Express how he feels with friends and family or perhaps the community’s social worker.
- Learn and practice stress management techniques when he feels frustrated, hurt, or overwhelmed.
- Stay in touch with family and friends.
- Remember that being in the hospital is not permanent
- Find ways to distract himself. The hospital has different interesting spaces for him and the entire family and fun activities that can be done in your teen’s room. Your teen can also do his projects and homework while he’s admitted.
Helping Your Teen Cope
Keep in mind that your teen needs care and support from his family after his surgery, as he may be feeling weak and defenseless. Occasionally, the vulnerability could come across as violence, confusion, or anger. Your teen might not verbally express his emotions of anxiety and stress. You may find that he is feeling stressed by observing his behavior.
Indications of stress in children, teens, and adolescents may include headaches, stomach problems, irritability, mood changes, problems at school, constant crying, changes in sleep patterns, and difficulty concentrating, among others.
Please find out how your teenager is feeling by hearing out his concerns and encouraging free-flowing conversation. Avoid interruptions like using phones while talking with your teen. You can fix every issue, but you can accept and understand your loved one and what he’s going through.
As parents, we can also mirror positive strategies for dealing with stress. Don’t forget to take care of yourself, deal with daily demands, and ask for help when you need it. As your teen recuperates, incite a gradual return to his usual activities in and out of school, including activities with his peers. Support what your teen is doing positively and the improvements he is making while he is recuperating.
Talking To A Counselor Or Social Worker
A counselor or social worker is available to assist teens and their families in dealing with the issues that may emerge during surgery. Your teen may tell you that he wants to talk to a counselor before he goes into surgery or wants to see a social worker while he is in the hospital. The social worker can guide you and your teen with tough emotions, promoting your family’s needs, dealing with stress, and providing you with connections to support and resources from the local community.