Moving Into Adulthood with Atopic Dermatitis

With my granddaughter entering into her senior year, it’s a time of independence. She is working most evenings and has a car. She also chooses to spend time with friends over me. That is all normal, but I can be a worrier.

Moving into adulthood with atopic dermatitis means that she is taking responsibility for her own skincare. It’s not like she is just learning. Skin issues are a part of her life. She seems to be doing fine, as are her parents. Nana is the one who is having a hard time letting go.

Allowing independence

My family appreciates the wisdom that comes with age, honoring me for my knowledge and experience ... sometimes.

There are times when my advice is not, shall we say "welcomed". If a skin problem emerges, it’s not easy for me to let go and trust that good choices are being made.

Trial and error

One example is when it comes to trying popular skin care products. Like a typical teen, she is very keen on trial and error. If there is a seasonal scented lotion with a cool name, she wants to try it. A lot of this is probably part of doing what’s cool. I understand, but it’s really about me stepping back and watching her moving into adulthood with atopic dermatitis.

A nudge in the right direction

I keep thinking that this article should have a list. Like how to let go, or how to set boundaries. The truth is, young people have a trial and error period with all their decision making. Whether it’s about choosing friends, making passing grades, or driving safely - they begin making those choices when they are still under parental (or Nana) supervision. It’s a good time for them to make a few mistakes. This way, they can come to the adults in their lives who care about them when things fall apart. They can try something new and then learn from the consequences.

Trying something new

I was all caught up in fear over the heavily perfumed lotion and bath gel set that she brought to my house when spending the night. I got out her sensitive skin lotion and set it by the bed. It seemed like a good time to ask if the new scented lotion made her skin itch. She told me that it hadn’t been a I believed that.

A little TLC

Instead of taking the time to caution her, I offered to rub her back - using my lotion. Her tense muscles relaxed under my gentle massage. For the thousandth time, I felt the dryness and prickly bumps and soothed them with tender loving care. It felt good to still have some control in that small area of her skin troubled life.

Shifting gears

After she fell asleep, I looked around the room at her backpack full of binders and textbooks. Her work clothes were piled in the corner. She had driven to my house herself. I realized that she was doing so well in moving into adulthood with atopic dermatitis. All I can do is provide an atmosphere where she wants to spend time with me. I’m letting go of giving advice and instead, giving unconditional love and support. I'm watching as she is moving into adulthood with atopic dermatitis.

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