Not one bit of me wanted to go near the lice on my son’s head. But I realised he was counting on me. I had to get over my fear to stop him feeling ashamed.
If I stayed paralysed with an expression of disgust smudged across my face, I was only going to do something no parent wants to do: pass on my fears and crush his self-esteem. I had to stop passing on my fears and start being a strong mother!
If you want to help your child be confident and not crush their self-esteem: get over yourself! You know kids pick up on our behaviour. Be a positive influence, not a weak role model.
One of the smallest creatures in the world represent one of parents’ biggest fears. The head louse!
Just thinking about lice is making me itch. I am reminded of all the times my partner’s children so kindly shared these little friends with me. Argh. I am squirming just at the memories and that was over 15 years ago. If these little blighters can still make me, a grown woman, react so negatively over a decade later, just imagine what they could be doing to your child’s self-esteem!
LICE TO-DO LIST
- you have to take action, ignoring them won’t make them go away
- make sure you check their hair regularly
- make sure that you treat their hair immediately
- yes, spend hours shampooing, combing and picking the little buggers out
- check everyone in the house
- wash all clothes and sheets and pillow cases and sofa covers (or disinfect)
- repeat every day until they are gone
- be consistent and relentless
Keep your enemies close
Find out all you can about your enemy. That way you are in a better position to defeat them. Learn about the lice. Find out what your child’s school is doing: policies, preventions, checks, etc. You can research with your child.
Back to me and my son: Even though I had to pretend not to want to heave every time I saw a blown up picture of these dreadful creatures, it was interesting learning about them. Taking positive action like this can help your child deal with the situation better. Understanding is the best course of action. Fear usually comes from stuff we don’t know about, so if we learn, we feel more empowered. Ignorance leaves us feeling weak.
Even your little princess could be the Trojan horse
They live on all kinds of hair. But I have to say that the kids with thick and/or long hair seem to get it more. I speak from experience from when I was at school and my best friend Melanie Walton kindly shared her infestation with me. I too had longish hair.
I was absolutely devastated when I got them as a young girl of 8. I felt like I was being punished. Somehow it violates you. I know that there are lots of little microorganisms living on us all the time – but hey, what you can’t see can’t bother you: out of sight out of mind. But lice, they may be small, but we can still see them.
Sorry, for the pause. Just had to have a good scratch.
Where was I? Oh yes, the visual is everything. The itching, well that’s kind of like mosquitoes, i.e. bearable. But seeing other things living off of you and having the audacity to use you as a breeding ground like miniatures from Scott Ridley’s Alien movie is a complete violation of your personal space and a black X on your personal hygiene. It doesn’t matter how you wrap it, or how often you are told that lice like both dirty and clean hair – having headlice ain’t nice! And I am fussy about who and what lives on me and shares my bed at night. Aren’t you?
Safeguard your child’s self-esteem
Whatever way you dice it, having lice will affect your children emotionally. Do not overreact. Let’s focus on your child’s self-esteem. Keep this intact. So talk to your children as positively as you can. Say that lice are just like other insects out in the world, like butterflies and ladybirds. They are small little animals going about their business. They think their hair is a nice place to live. But they are not pets and there are zillions of them in the world so it is okay to flush them down the sink.
LICE NOT-TO-DO LIST
- shrink away from your child
- shrug off responsibility
- cut all their hair off
- throw the comb away after use – stay armed, there is usually more than one outbreak at school
Remember you are the adult. You have to put the brave face on first and get a hold of the situation. You may not have asked for them, and the lice most likely piggybacked from some other child into your clean household, but you are still responsible for dealing with the situation.
Taking action is the biggest thing you can do for your child – and you! I’m not suggesting it will be a quality parent-child time, but there is a kind of bonding that goes on as you both strive for the same mission: to oust the louse! Your child could also check your hair. See the bright side: you are doing battle together, and it’s the chance for you to show your strengths as a parent and to support your child in their time of need.
You could also listen to Storytime with Kiki as you de-louse! Be brave! Have fun!