Research from the USA has identified that amongst 7-11 year olds having head lice was seen by the individual child as a ‘symbolic failure’, associated with (real and imagined) ridicule and blame from peers. There was a strong association of head lice with embarrassment, sadness and anger, as well as peer rejection and negative labelling:
- 60% of children interviewed had experienced public humiliation as a result of having head lice
- 90% reported being teased by schoolmates, parents, and relatives when they had head lice
- Rejection by peers was the number one concern of the participating children
- Peer acceptance was greatly diminished for a child who had head lice; and negative labelling often followed the child throughout his or her school life
- The majority of the children in the study showed signs of diminished self-perception because of this issue. Furthermore, most of the children felt a sense of personal responsibility for having lice, and expressed feelings of being ‘bad’ or ‘dirty’
These are all really good reasons to clear your child of a head lice infestation and not let it go on and on. There is clearly a very real price paid by the child if it is not effectively dealt with. Relying on the products will not protect them from all these things. You need to get all of the eggs out as well as all of the head lice.
All the findings ‘illustrated the intense negative impact that head lice infestations, and the perceptions surrounding infestations could have on children’. These effects can have long term implications into adulthood.
The Hairforce – Lice Assassins, the UK’s unique nit and head lice clearing service back up these findings. Their spokesperson states ‘We see both the physical effects of an infestation on a child and also the emotional price some children pay. When they come to us we shut this issue down immediately so they can get on with their lives. Sometimes you can see the immediate happiness this can elicit. You cannot underestimate the negative effect head lice can have on your child and their everyday lives’.