Childhood comes with many struggles, and one that many children face is bullying. Those who get orthodontic treatments often fear that they will be a new source of bullying and abuse from their peers. Unfortunately, children can sometimes be cruel, causing their victims to become insecure about their appearance. Bullying begins to be a problem at about the same time as most children get orthodontic care. While not directly related, it’s certainly an unfortunate correlation. We have tips for helping your child manage bullying related to their dental care.
Children, Orthodontics, And Bullying
Studies and experience have shown that children who experience dental misalignments, malocclusion, and similar dental concerns often are the target of bullying. For some children, the bullying starts before they even receive orthodontics. This is most common with children experiencing visible issues with their smiles, such as missing teeth, obvious gaps, or overbites. The problem often becomes amplified when they receive orthodontic care, with braces and clear aligners being one more target for bullies. It’s our job as parents to help our children overcome these hurdles so they can grow up confident while having a beautiful smiles.
Avoiding orthodontic care isn’t the answer. Eliminating concerns like overbite and malocclusion is essential to protecting their oral health and building a beautiful smile. The good news is that receiving orthodontic care can also help eliminate bullying in the long run. While it would be best if children were never bullied at all, studies reveal that 78% of children who receive orthodontic care are no longer bullied for their dental health once the treatment is complete. This statistic shows that there is the hope of eliminating bullying, but those continue to be teased following orthodontic treatment. Here are some ways to help your child manage bullying related to their orthodontic care:
- Listen To Your Child – This is the most important thing you can do. Bullying can make children feel isolated and alone; their feelings don’t matter. Listening to your children with patience and compassion can help.
- Teach Them Confidence – It’s essential to help your child learn to think positively about themselves and to be kind to themselves. Considering the large number of adults who struggle with this, it’s an essential skill to develop as early as possible. Children often say they want braces because their teeth don’t look good. Emphasize that braces are essential for their oral health and beautiful smile. More importantly, emphasize that their appearance doesn’t define their worth.
- Compliment Them Often – Many children will roll their eyes at you when you compliment them, but don’t let that stop you. Stick with it, they may not show it, but those words will stick with them.
Realize that being protective is integral to being a parent, but there is a right and wrong time to act on it. In many cases, a parent coming to their child’s defense due to bullying will only aggravate the situation. Further, letting your child attempt to work it out independently is essential. Before you intervene, you should ensure they have approached authority figures that can act on it. Unless they’re in physical damage, you should step in only after this step fails. Also, never be afraid to press charges if the bullies are physically assaulting your child. Assault is a crime, and no one should be touched by anyone without permission, especially violently.
Kids World Pediatric Dental Can Help With More Tips
Contact us at (210) 787-1200 to schedule an appointment and get more information about bullying and orthodontic care. We’re here to support your children at every stage of their dental health journey.