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“Will you still feel beautiful when you find out you are different?” Parents’ experiences, reflections, and appearance-focused conversations about their child’s visible difference

Feragen, Kristin; Myhre, Anita; Stock, Nicola

“Will you still feel beautiful when you find out you are different?” Parents’ experiences, reflections, and appearance-focused conversations about their child’s visible difference Thumbnail


Authors

Kristin Feragen

Anita Myhre

Nicola Stock Nicola2.Stock@uwe.ac.uk
Occasional Associate Lecturer - HAS - HSS



Abstract

To investigate parents’ reflections and experiences of having a child born with an appearance-altering condition, interviews with 33 parents of children born with rare craniofacial conditions were analyzed using inductive thematic analysis. Three themes emerged: “Managing emotions: A dynamic process,” “Through another lens: External reminders of difference,” and “Awareness of difference: Approaching the child.” Findings suggest that although parents learned to accept and love their child’s visible difference, external factors such as appearance-altering surgery and other people’s reactions activated difficult emotions in parents. Parents struggled to decipher whether and when to raise appearance-related issues with their child, and how this could be done without distressing the child. Anticipatory guidance that facilitates positive appearance-focused conversations both within and outside the home seems to be needed. Parenting skills could also be strengthened by preparing parents for social reactions to the child’s visible difference, and their child’s changed appearance following surgery.

Citation

Feragen, K., Myhre, A., & Stock, N. (2022). “Will you still feel beautiful when you find out you are different?” Parents’ experiences, reflections, and appearance-focused conversations about their child’s visible difference. Qualitative Health Research, 32(1), 3-15. https://doi.org/10.1177/10497323211039205

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 22, 2021
Online Publication Date Oct 1, 2021
Publication Date Jan 1, 2022
Deposit Date Sep 27, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jan 6, 2022
Journal Qualitative Health Research
Print ISSN 1049-7323
Electronic ISSN 1552-7557
Publisher SAGE Publications
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 32
Issue 1
Pages 3-15
DOI https://doi.org/10.1177/10497323211039205
Keywords Visible difference; craniofacial; appearance; parent; child; surgery
Public URL https://uwe-repository.worktribe.com/output/7565162

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