Emotional Impact

More than skin deep.

Psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis (together called psoriatic disease) affects your child physically and emotionally. Talking about feelings is just as important as managing the physical aspects.

A young girl sits at a table doing homework looking frustrated.

What Can I Do?

Be supportive, but don’t focus too much on the disease.

If you use embarrassed or negative tones, your child may feel that psoriatic disease is something to be ashamed of. It isn’t.

Acknowledge the management aspects of the disease, but focus more on your child as an individual and his day-to-day accomplishments, such as “What happened in school today?” or “Wow, you played a great game tonight.”

Help your child identify and express feelings. Depending on the age, emojis may help. Does your child feel anger, frustration or confusion as to why it’s happening again, or like it’s her fault because they did something to cause the flare? Does she ask, “Why me?”

Reassure your child that these emotions are normal. He didn’t do anything wrong. Talk about potential triggers and make journal notes in a symptom tracker to discuss with your child’s doctor. You could say, “Having psoriasis is just like having blue eyes or brown hair. It’s part of who you are. It’s not your fault.” Or, “It’s not clear why some people have it and others don’t.”

Be careful what you say about your child covering up signs of psoriasis. Encouraging your child to cover up may make her feel like she is different and that you are embarrassed. Let your child decide if she wants to flaunt her flares and teach others about the disease. If your child feels more comfortable covering up, let her make that choice.

Get more advice on how to best support your loved ones with psoriatic disease with NPF's free Care Partner Booklet.


Sometimes kids with psoriasis become a target for teasing or bullying because they’re perceived as being different. Learn the signs and how to handle it..


People with psoriatic disease are at higher risk for developing depression. It’s important as a parent to recognize the signs of depression and obtain help for your child. Depression in youth is often misdiagnosed.

Here are some specific signs to watch for (some are similar to the signs of bullying):

  • Continuous feelings of sadness and hopelessness, increased sensitivity to rejection, irritability or anger, fatigue
  • Social withdrawal, loss of friends, loss of interest in school accompanied by missed school days and declining grades
  • Changes in eating or sleeping habits, vague health complaints

If you suspect your child is depressed and the symptoms persist for more than a couple of weeks, ask for help. Talk with your child’s teacher to see if she's noticed a change in behavior. Find a mental health care professional who can help diagnose the depression and offer treatment options. 

Dealing With Your Own Emotions

Here are some of the best tips from families that successfully cope with psoriatic disease:

  • Learn to accept the diagnosis. Move on, however long it takes. Your attitude can affect your child if they sense frustration, negative thoughts or guilt. Focus on what you can do to keep your child as healthy and happy as possible.
  • Learn to divide tasks. Take turns going to the doctor for appointments or involve siblings in tasks. Also, there’s no reason why your child can’t sleep over at a friend’s house or stay with grandparents for the weekend.
  • Don’t lose sight of your own needs. Maintain meaningful relationships with other adults, family and friends. To be strong for your child, you must have a strong inner self. Take care of yourself before you start to feel resentment and anger.

Get More Tips 

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Connect with Other Parents

Talk to a parent whose child has psoriatic disease through our One to One program.

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Patient Navigation Center

The Patient Navigation Center offers free, personalized guidance and support for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

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Learn more through our free health webinars hosted by leading experts.

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Emotional Impact Quick Guide

Learn how you can better manage the emotional impacts of psoriatic disease.

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