As a general rule, anytime I have the opportunity to either make my kids feel ashamed and embarrassed or confident and secure, I will always choose the latter.
There is enough nonsense out there that I have no control over that is messing with my kids and causes anxiety and the weight of social pressures. I’m not going to pile it on. If I can approach a situation with my kids where they feel confident and secure, in a way where they could model that behavior and potentially help their peers feel the same way, that’s like the ultimate parenting win in my book… So here goes!
My kids have had lice…GASP!
Even with the kids out of school…it’s still a thing. And I’m here to tell you all about it for two very important reasons. Three actually…The first is pretty simple – IT’S NOT A BIG DEAL!
It’s annoying, yes, but all the laundry and shampooing and combing is usually blown way out proportion because of misinformation and misunderstanding. Hearing the word immediately makes you itchy, but as you sit here reading these words, I’ll remind you that while tiny bugs on your head (yes, go ahead and scratch away I know your head is itchy already) feels gross, it’s not a sign of poor hygiene, it’s not an indication of a socioeconomic deficiency, and it doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent.
It’s simply a thing that needs to be addressed and dealt with. So Google away and find UP TO DATE information or reach out to a professional for help. The money I’ve paid to my lice lady has been invaluable! It’s a thing, let’s fix it, the same way we would if it were a stomach bug or strep throat.
The hushed whispers and secretive approach is not helpful, in any way!
What are the other reasons?
For starters, and this is purely practical – if you don’t tell your kid’s friends and their parents, your kid will get it again! If your kid has lice and they have a bunch of best friends who they spend all of their time with, chances are those friends have/will have lice too. If you treat your child and they’re lice-free, their friends probably aren’t (because you didn’t tell them).
Let’s let everyone in on the “secret” so it can be fixed, and we can all move on! When we just treat our child but don’t alert their friends or their school, no one has the chance to catch it early, which means that we’re increasing the likelihood that MORE kids will have lice and that the cases will be more severe. Everyone will (or at least should) appreciate a cautionary early warning.
This last reason might sound a bit dramatic, but honestly, I think so often we’re dramatic about nonsense and gloss over the really important stuff. Shame and embarrassment are feelings that become deeply ingrained in us, and childhood memories, even the things that may seem insignificant at the time, can play on repeat in our mind’s background indefinitely. Creating a situation where help is needed, but shame is felt, seems an unnecessary burden to place on a child.
Let’s be honest, the human body is a pretty cool thing, but also it can be strange and even gross. There may be a time in your child’s life where something is happening with their body that (unlike lice) IS a big deal, and I don’t ever want my kids to feel embarrassed to talk about these things.
Let’s teach our kids that it’s ok to talk about uncomfortable stuff, and that being aware of our bodies and noticing when things feel “off” is so important.
Feelings of being judged or laughed at shouldn’t be factors in our kids feeling confident and safe in sharing these medical or body issues.
Even if your child doesn’t at some point find themselves with a serious medical condition (and I sincerely hope this to be the case), the hushed whispers and hiding of this incredibly common thing…LICE…isn’t doing our kids any favors. In an age of such young kids struggling with anxiety, and with all of the new pressures our kids face, let’s not create unnecessary drama and more stress.