Disclosure: Should I Tell?
Most middle and high school students want to fit in and have an active and fun social life. But feeling different around friends and classmates can be hard. Some kids with a bleeding disorder — or any other chronic condition — may want to keep their illness a secret. However, hiding a condition can cause problems as well.
Adolescence is a time when children want independence while they find their own unique identity. Most adolescents want to be like other teenagers; they don’t want to look or act differently or miss out on activities because of an illness. Fitting in is a high priority for a teen.
It’s normal for adolescents to become increasingly idealistic about what they should look like and how they should behave. They may also worry about fitting in or being bullied if anything makes them seem different from the rest of their peer group. To try to fit in with peers, adolescents with bleeding disorders may deny their illness by concealing bleeds and the need for treatment.
Hospitalizations, medical treatments, and bleeding episodes have the potential to interfere with activities, limiting social experiences. This may lead an adolescent to resent their illness because it sets them apart from their peers. They may take their resentment out on parents or physicians by being rebellious or defiant.
Coping with denial and resentment can be challenging at any age, but especially during adolescence. Understanding where your teen is coming from will help your son or daughter develop his or her unique identity while helping them successfully manage their bleeding disorder.