All children have an innate desire to fit in with everyone around them. While parents can see and appreciate their child’s uniqueness and individualism, children may not have positive self-esteem if they appear different from their peers. If your child is one who needs to wear glasses and is demonstrating poor self-esteem because of it, there are five things you can do as a parent to help.
1. Make it Fun
If you had a difficult time getting your child to the eye doctor and making him sit for the exam, imagine how hard it will be for him to keep something on his face that he despises. Set aside a day where you and your child can go shopping for frames. Give your child freedom to choose ones that he likes and will feel good wearing, but always within reason. You will have the best luck if you choose a few that are “parent-approved” and let him make a decision from there. You can also buy a fun, brightly colored case, or a case with his favorite cartoon character, that he will enjoy carrying around.
2. Show Pictures
Prepare a slideshow or look through magazines and books to show your child that he is not alone. Nick Jr. has a website devoted especially for children wearing eyeglasses, and they use your child’s favorite Nicktoon character as an example. If he idolizes the Backyardigans or Diego, he will see that his hero is wearing them and that he can be like them. If your child is older and has a favorite band, musician, actor or athlete, try to find photos of these individuals wearing their glasses. This can help your child to feel that wearing glasses can be cool.
3. Teach Proper Care
Teach your child how to properly care for his glasses. Unless you want to find him outside trying to fry eggs on the sidewalk with his lenses, show him what to do, then give him the materials and let him try it himself. Your child will gain a sense of responsibility and pride, which will make him feel more like an adult. If you wear glasses, set an example by going through the same motions as you teach your child. Carry your glasses with you, and have lens-cleaning parties with your child.
4. Celebrate Unique Talents
As a parent, you must take it upon yourself to show your child that he is special and that his talents and personality are what shine through. If your child is bright academically, he should be encouraged for his hard work. If your child excels at reading and shows promise of creative thinking, teach him that his skills are worth more than his appearance. If your child is musically gifted, you should persuade him to practice his instrument, learn a new instrument, or start a playgroup where he can play music with his friends. Focus on skills, talents and abilities, not appearance.
5. Show Love
Assure your child that he is loved no matter what he looks like. Let him know that he is not the only one who feels this way. Spend one day a week where you take him to a place of his choosing, whether it be the mall, a park, or out to eat. Remind him that he has to wear his glasses but the activity is up to him. This will help him feel more comfortable in public.
Above all, celebrate your child’s uniqueness. Teach him that there is more to someone than just their appearance, and even people who wear glasses can grow up to lead successful, happy lives.
Sara Roberts is a content contributor for Just Eyewear, a prescription eyeglasses and prescription sunglasses retailer.