The natural reaction when spotting lice is to walk away or be grossed out. Even when we see it on our innocent and lovely kids. How can we stop the social stigma if we are the first ones to react badly to it?
Dr. Shirley Gordon, PhD has been studying the impact of head lice in children and the social stigma that they create on them. According to Dr. Gordon, as parents we come up with a treatment plan, whether it’s doing it ourselves or getting help from an outsider, but if or when the solution doesn’t work we blame the process and not long after that, the victim. “You attract them.” we will hear. That has tangible reaction such as children not wanting their peers or even their families to know, families hiding from other family members and in extreme cases, child abuse.
Dr. Gordon differentiates between primary stigma, you get it when you have an undesirable characteristic (if people know about it), courtesy stigma, when someone close to you has such undesirable characteristic, for example a relative.