Kids can be mean.
Kids can be really mean.
Other kids are probably the #1 reason why your child doesn't want to wear their glasses. So here's a quick survival guide for parents who struggle with the daily policing and nagging and arguing with your child to get those glasses on.
Kids are extremely impressionable. If other kids at school say it's cool . . . it's a go. If other kids laugh, tease, say it's not cool . . . it's a no. So true about glasses. Even though glasses are a medical device and the entire purpose is to see clearly, kids don't see it that way. They see it as a fashion statement. Glasses do speak instant language, and to a 10 year old . . . they are going to speak 'accepted' or 'not-accepted.'
SURVIVAL TIP #1. Change your attitude about glasses.
If your child isn't wearing their glasses, the problem may be your attitude. Yep, I said it. The problem may be the parent. Nothing stings more to a child than having an unsupportive parent. Add the pressure of other kids to the mix . . . and you will fail. How many times have I heard a parent say in front of their child "What about contacts? What about contact lenses?" Or this: "I can't believe my child has to wear glasses, are you sure?" This just sends the wrong message because now your child feels they did something wrong. When in fact they did nothing of the sort.
SURVIVAL TIP #2. Start wearing glasses yourself.
Kids love to copy their parents. I see this all the time: Kids with parents that do not wear glasses tend to struggle more than kids with parents that wear glasses full time. So if you happen to own a pair of glasses (clear or sunglasses), start wearing them more and in front of your kids. You are their best example and they will be more confident if other kids happen to tease them.
SURVIVAL TIP #3. New house rules.
You don't know what happens at school, but you do know what happens at home. Often, if kids get teased at school about their glasses, they won't ever want to wear them again, ever . . . which includes home.
This is extremely easy to reinforce at home. Often I teach this new rule (with the parent's permission) at the time of the eye exam. Taking away digital devices if your child doesn't wear glasses really doesn't work anymore. Instead, make a NEW RULE: you must wear your glasses if you want to watch TV, play video games or operate digital devices (computer, tablet and phone). No glasses, no dice.
SURVIVAL TIP #4. Let your child decide.
If your child loves his/her glasses, they will be more likely to wear them. This isn't rocket science, although many parents want to pick what frame they think looks best . . . not let their child pick. We see this happen in the office everyday. Kids pick the glasses they like because they already know what is going to look 'cool' at school. They are already imagining the scenarios with their awesome, new glasses at school. Don't crush this dream. Let your child choose.
At the end of the day . . . make having to wear glasses an awesome, fun experience. It will make parenting easy and allow me to do my job the best.
Love and 👓,
Dr. Tanya Gill