Bullying is a problem that is getting a lot of attention across the nation. An alarming number of youth report to have been a bully or been the victim of bullying in their everyday life. A national survey on StopyBullying.gov shows that about 49% of children in grades 4–12 reported being bullied by other students at school at least once during the past month, whereas 30.8% reported bullying others during that time.
A child who contracts head lice can easily become to the target of gossip, name-calling, rumors and physical bullying from their peers. As a parent how can you combat this and help your child not be the victim of bullying when dealing with head lice?
Keep The Problem On a Need to Know Basis
Sometimes a student can be humiliated when a school nurse identifies them as a head lice carrier. If at all possible, do your best to check your child’s head often for head lice so that the problem is not identified publically at school. If it is, however, ensure your child that they are not the only one in the school or classroom with the issue. Head lice are caught through direct head to head contact. Someone had to pass it on to them and most likely several children are dealing with it.
Keep in mind that this situation can be humiliating and embarrassing for children, especially teens. Take care to only notify parents and adults who can be trusted and need to know to protect their own families.
What Should I do If My Child is Bullied for Head Lice?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state that up to 12 million children will catch head lice in the United States this year alone. Head lice do not make your child dirty or gross. Yet, this situation will often leave children vulnerable to teasing and bullying. How can you help them combat this difficult problem?
Here are a few helpful ideas:
–Stand up to the bully. Bullies will most often back off if the person they are targeting shows strength against them. Some children will do well with this, others will not. But, if they can use a firm, strong yet kind response to end the tormenting it can stop it before it escalates.
-Some children will do best to turn it into a joke. Humor can help lighten the situation up and show the bully that they are not intimidated. If your child can take a joke, have them use humor to make the situation ineffective for the bully.
-Children who will not do well under pressure should simply get out of the situation immediately, and talk to a trusted adult.
–Inform a teacher, a trusted adult at school and or your parents as soon as possible. Studies show that only about 20% of bullying is actually reported to adults. If an adult intervenes the bullying usually stops.
-Talk to your child about avoiding physical confrontation. Fighting will only escalate the problem and get them into trouble.
–Communicate with your child. Be the trusted adult they can confide in. Help them come up with a plan and follow through.
Check out StopBullying.gov for more helpful information.