This morning I endured a difficult situation with children and their parent – it was due to fear of my face. I wrote about it here. And many people relate.
One of the things that has made a huge difference to me meeting children is when their parents introduce me to them via social media.
I love it when I meet a friend’s child and they have already seen me. They’re already used to me face. My friend may have shown their child my photos and videos on social media. Their children know who I am, they aren’t scared, and see me as a friend already. It’s been joyous to meet children who are prepared for me.
(Sometimes I get sent lovely comments from kids via their parents on social media – complimenting me on my dress or smile, and even on my “pink sparkly skin”. This makes my day!)
I love that we can all just get on with our day – without embarrassment, difficult questions or outright fear. (All of which makes for a very difficult meeting.)
Generally a person with a facial difference has already done some work to educate others about their lives. What questions are polite to ask, what does discrimination look like, and how we’d like to be spoken to
Although it’s important for us to educate younger generations, the burden shouldn’t be on us to be the sole educators. Parents should use the vast resources we’ve created – our social media accounts, books, articles, art, music. Please don’t set up the expectation that we will answer every question your child asks us. Maybe their question is the first we’ve had that day, but it could also be the tenth, and the cumulative impact of curiosity is tiring. Preparing your child before meeting people with facial and limb differences, skin conditions, disabilities and other visible differences is a great way to show allyship.
I know it can be embarrassing when your child asks about someone’s facial difference, skin condition or disability, but it’s also traumatic for the person who’s the subject of the questions or fear. So it’s important you prepare your children.
Use social media for good. Follow and engage with lots of people who don’t look like you, and show your children too.
Social media can be cruel, but this is a great way to encourage kindness.
If has this post has helped you, please consider buying me a drink.