By Dr. Stacie Bunning, clinical psychologist
My daughter just got glasses, and kids are already being mean to her. For the first time in her life, she has low self-esteem. She says that she's ugly and that everyone says she looks better without glasses. Any ideas on how I can handle this?
The first thing to remember is that it takes time for anyone - child or adult - to adjust to wearing glasses. They feel strange on your face, and you become really self-conscious for a while. As a parent, you will need to be patient as your daughter makes this adjustment. On top of that, it is a universal truth that kids can be mean! We all remember comments from our elementary school years, whether they were made by us or about us. Without trying to get at the reasons for these behaviors, it might be better to focus on another universal truth: Kids want to fit in, and they think fitting in means that they have to look like everyone else. In your daughter's mind, this unwelcome change in her appearance makes her different and has earned her some unwanted attention, so her peers' comments have become larger than life!
Use a matter-of-fact approach about the glasses, with the expectation that she will wear them when she is supposed to. Try to minimize your reaction when she comes home complaining about her peers' comments. If you are truly concerned about her self-image, try some of these tips that have been found to improve children's self-esteem:
Advice from our experts is not a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment from a health-care provider or learning expert familiar with your unique situation. We recommend consulting a qualified professional if you have concerns about your child's condition.
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