My parents wore glasses, I wear glasses, my husband wears glasses…so it’s no huge surprise that our kids also have to wear glasses. When I was in fifth grade and had to get glasses for the first time, I returned to school with my glasses to chides, teasing and name calling. Glasses were “uncool” and nerdy. By the time I was in junior high, I had switched to contacts.
Today, children’s glasses don’t seem to hold the same stigma. My daughter has never really been teased about wearing glasses, but our approach with her has been to encourage her to make them part of her style. We let her choose the frames, which have been bright red, black, and now blue. She’s looking forward to choosing the next pair.
My son has struggled more with wearing glasses and feeling comfortable in them. He was born with a cataract in his left eye and has been wearing glasses since he was 18 months old – not just any glasses, either. His glasses have a thick lens with a bifocal for his left eye to help him see. Over the years, that lens has become thicker and thicker, making the bifocal more pronounced. Helping him be comfortable wearing glasses that are usually reserved for older people (how many kids wear bifocals!) has been a challenge. The secret to helping your kids be comfortable in children’s glasses comes from boosting their self esteem by raising individuals who are comfortable in their own skin no matter what.
Five ways to enhance your child’s confidence, when wearing children’s glasses:
- Allow your child to express his personality sense of fashion so that glasses become just another expression of style. Let him pick the frames. While you can limit the price range, let them pick the glasses they want to wear, even if you don’t like them.
- Communicate with your kids. They should understand the importance of wearing glasses, the benefit of being able to see properly, and be reassured that as they get older there may be options beyond glasses to help correct their sight.
- That first day back to school with glasses can be difficult. Allow your child to choose a new outfit to help boost her confidence. Reassure her about how amazing she looks, while reminding her that who she is on the inside is what really matters.
- If you wear glasses, too, don’t be ashamed of wearing them or give your kids a reason to think there is something wrong with wearing glasses.
- If your kids are teased about wearing glasses, or they worry they will be, help them find ways to cope and respond. “Yeah, I have to wear glasses now. But it’s better than not being able to see the whiteboard.” Or, “Don’t you just love these red frames? Next time I’m getting purple!”
As you teach your kids to be confident in themselves, whether they wear glasses or not, you can also teach them to have compassion for others, helping other kids work through their fears when it comes to looking different.