Myths and facts around growth

MYTH: It is our fault that our child is short 

Growth failure is often hereditary. This means that is passed on in the genes from the parents to the child. Therefore, just as you might pass brown eyes to your child – there is nothing you could have done to prevent your child’s growth disorder. 

Even if your child's growth disorder has been caused by an underlying disease, this is also likely to have been beyond your control and is therefore not your fault.

The only real ‘preventable’ cause of a growth disorder is malnutrition and in the Western world, even this is likely to be as a result of another underlying issue. 

MYTH: We can’t do anything about our child’s height

Although the majority of growth disorders are hereditary that doesn’t mean that there is nothing you can do to help your child to grow. 

There are a number of treatments for growth disorder – including treatment with growth hormone, sex hormones or surgical procedures. The type of treatment recommended will depend on the type of growth disorder and your child’s personal medical history. 

To find out more, read our treatments for growth section.

MYTH: All small children are bullied 

It is not a rule that all small children are bullied and there are no precise figures available on this. Children can be very honest and point out obvious differences such as ‘you are really short’ or ‘why are you so small?’ but these are not always meant in a malicious way.

Teach your child when and how to explain to other children about their growth condition. By keeping an open approach, you may be surprised how easily children can adapt to one another’s differences. 

FACT: Growth disorders do not affect intelligence

Growth disorders do not affect cognitive or mental ability. Your child will be able to perform as well as their counterparts at school, and should never be led to believe that their growth disorder might affect their intelligence. 

If your child is struggling academically at school, it may be an issue of confidence in the classroom rather than a physical issue.

MYTH: Growth hormone will treat everyone

Growth hormone is an effective treatment in certain cases. However it is not suitable to everyone and might not always provide the expected effects.

Always discuss with your doctor what type of results they may be expecting from growth hormone treatment in your child. 

MYTH: Growth hormone is very dangerous

Growth hormone, like any other prescription medicine, does have side effects and you should discuss these with your doctor.

FACT: You don't have to use a needle to inject your child with growth hormone

If your child is afraid of needles, there are needle free delivery mechanisms available. Speak to your doctor about which treatment is most suitable for your child.

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