Primary school years

Challenges and solutions during primary school and the transition to high school

As your child gets older, they will continue to develop their own personality and their independence will gradually increase. When they are at primary school, they will base the way they feel about themselves more and more on their skills and school achievements. They will compare themselves with their classmates over things such as their handwriting, maths ability, football or dancing skills, rather than on looks alone.

Friendships can become very important for children at this age. As well as being fun, friends can boost self-esteem, be a source of support and help your child to learn important social skills.

A bit like going to primary school, moving into high school can be difficult for your child as there may be many new teachers and pupils who have not come across people with microtia and atresia before. The challenges of going to primary school may therefore be repeated.

Children may also start to become aware of romantic relationships around this time. This growing awareness may trigger more thoughts, feelings and questions about the importance of their own looks.

Some or all of the following ideas may help at this time:

Building friendships.  Encourage and help your child to develop close and positive friendships.

Promoting strengths and self-esteem.  Continue to praise and encourage your child’s development of skills and talents, appreciate their efforts and achievements. This will help them to develop good self-esteem which, in turn, will assist them to deal with some of the less positive experiences of growing up.

Continuing support and communication.  Go on dealing with the inevitable hiccups in your child’s life in a calm and sensible fashion. Be prepared to respond to more complex questions and emotions about your child’s microtia and atresia and lots of other issues as he or she matures and becomes more emotionally sophisticated.