Discussing head lice isn’t always easy; it can be especially difficult if your child comes home traumatized by others’ reaction to the issue. This is why Lice Care Solutions is committed to helping people deal with head lice in the most effective and compassionate way possible. In this short interview, we ask licensed Psychotherapist Barbie Atkinson the best strategies for discussing head lice with children, teachers and other parents.
Lice Care Q&A
Lice Care: Today we’re here sitting with Dr. Barbie Atkinson from Catalyst Counseling to talk a little bit about lice. Barbie, do you want to tell us something about yourself?
Barbie Atkinson: My name is Barbie Atkinson, I’m a psychotherapist and I have a private practice called Catalyst Counseling. I see families, children, teen, couples, friends and I also have a program called Calm Crusaders, which is an anxiety program for children aged 9-12.
Lice Care: How do you explain to kids that they have lice?
Barbie Atkinson: It’s not going to be easy, but it’s definitely gonna be easier if you take a deep breath, a diaphragmatic, a big belly breath. And you get in a good place yourself and you kind of lose the anxiety. You become calm so that you can communicate to your child what is going on. Again, what lice is, again what lice isn’t. How common it is, and how it’s been with us from the beginning of time. And, that they got it from someone else in the classroom who got it from someone else who got it from someone else and that’s kind of how it works. Head lice works with that kind of contagious head to head contact. So, there’s nothing wrong with them, they did nothing wrong, they were just being.
Lice Care: Is telling a while lie or keeping it a secret, is that the best way to go?
Barbie Atkinson: The way I approach things like this really, all the things, when you’re dealing with children, your children. Having them trust you and having them trust that what you‘re saying is the truth and that they can come to you with anything and you are going to give them the information. And so I think that we are doing a disservice to our kids for future encounters and experiences if we’re not telling them the truth and telling what it is that they have. Also, I love sharing with other parents and teachers and the nurses that you’ve got lice because it’s kind of alerting them. If you haven’t been alerted and you haven’t gotten the letter, then this might be the first time and someone can take some precautions.
Lice Care: How do you reassure a child that may be a little afraid of treatment?
Barbie Atkinson: I think that acknowledging their feelings is going to be first and foremost. And really sitting with them and whatever their feeling regarding it. And some empathy about how they can be scared. This is new for both of us. But we know that it’s going to be good for you, and it’s going to be um, it’s going to help get the bugs out of your hair, whatever you’re calling it in your home, the lice. And just being able to really connect to your child that way.
Lice Care: How do you deal with the shame and embarrassment associated with lice?
Barbie Atkinson: I think that’s a tricky one. And, I’ll tell you personally, I think that it’s a normal part of having a head and having hair. And with children having contact, such contact with other children and the whole selfie, like, you know when your posting. And really getting in contact with another persons head or hair and they’re so easily transmitted that being able to simplify this and being able to hear that they may be embarrassed, depending on how a teacher has told them or taken them out of the classroom. Or maybe a child has been taunted. Oh, you’ve got, you know….But we know that there’s no socioeconomic background that a child has; long hair, short hair, clean hear. Head lice do not discriminate.
Lice Care: So, Barbie this was all fantastic information, thank you so much. How can a parent get ahold of you if they have questions or maybe they’re interested in counseling for their child, themselves or even with their family?
Barbie Atkinson: I would love to be able to speak with someone about the destigmatization of things like this, things like lice, and all the other things that could potentially happen with families and phobias and anxiety and negative thinking and we can look at that. I am at the website, which is https://www.catalyst-counseling.com. And my email is [email protected]. I have 2 locations in Houston that we can talk with if that’s something you’d like to do or just an email inquiry of anything that I can answer.
Lice Care: Wonderful, thank you.
Barbie Atkinson: Thank you.
Lice Care: We tailor our services to meet the needs of all families. Whether your child has a behavior issue, ADHD is on the autism spectrum, or maybe has a sensory processing disorder. Regardless, we’re here to help.