do young kids get teased because of glasses?

It’s a common concern (and one that I hold) for parents of young kids in glasses:  Will my child be teased because of their glasses?  It doesn’t help that the plot of many of the books and movies about kids in glasses revolve around the child being teased and then figuring out how to deal with it.  But I wonder, how much of a reality is the teasing?  As far as I’m aware, no one has ever teased Zoe about her glasses.  Once at the playground, I overheard one older boy telling his father, “want to hear something silly?  There’s a baby in glasses!”  But while he was talking about Zoe, he wasn’t taunting her or even talking directly to her, and luckily, she was young enough that I don’t think she caught it at all.

I do know that eyewear is a lot nicer looking than it was when most of us were kids, and that more and more kids are wearing glasses, though usually at an older age than our kids.  Does this mean that the teasing for glasses will be less?  There was that study in 2008 that found that kids do not think glasses make other children less attractive or less athletic, though they do think other kids in glasses are smarter and more honest.  Does that translate into less teasing?

I’d love to hear from parents of older children about whether their kids have been teased about glasses, or whether they’ve observed kids making fun of others about their glasses.

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20 responses to “do young kids get teased because of glasses?

  1. Hi

    My son got his first pair of glasses in April this year. He was not quite 4 1/2 y.o. When I brought him to school, he was very apprehensive about going into his classroom (no other kids in his class have glasses). Well, the first thing kids did was laugh at him (about 10, 12 kids in total). However his teacher stepped in (I really appreciated that) & reprimanded them on the spot, saying things like “do you parents wear glasses – would you laugh at them?”. He didn’t get laughed at by the big group again.

    I know the first week was hard for him, he still got teased a bit but eventually, he was fine. Sure, no other kids in his class have glasses but my wife & I were able to teach our son a valuable life leasson – that we shouldn’t make fun of people who are “different” but instead accept them for who they are & try to help them if we can.

    I’m sure for parents out there who’s kids needs to get glasses for the first time -sure, it may be a little stressful but kids are resilient & tougher than we (I) think.

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    • Not a bit.

      My kids have never to my knowledge been teased about their glasses. They’ve had them since they were babies (DD was 20 months — DS was 13 months) so all their friends are completely used to it.

      If anything, we’ve had positive comments, like being told by classmates’ parents that their kids now want to wear glasses because my kids’ glasses are cool. (not because they need them 🙂 ) Our oldest is going into first grade, I am hoping that we will continue in this vein.

      We’ve only had a few negative comments from kids when we had to run out to the store wearing patches. (usually we patch at home or at friends’ houses where they are used to it) My 6 year old girl gets hurt feelings when anyone says the word “Pirate” anywhere near her when she’s wearing a patch. So that can be sticky.

      However, even for days when we go out with patches, most of the comments have been positive– including many from adults with strabismus/amblyopia who have wished they had such nice glasses and patches when they were little. 🙂

      We do get “??” provoking comments from adults occasionally, particularly when the kids were babies. We have gotten a few comments like “Are those real glasses on your baby?” and I just giggled and said “I don’t think I would have fought with him for half an hour to keep them on this morning if he didn’t need them for the health of his eyes.” The commenter (adult we did not know) sheepishly changed the subject. Some people just don’t believe that a pediatric opthalmologist can even tell whether a kid needs glasses. (?) Oh well! I guess we are helping to educate them.

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      • Mary, it’s good to hear that your children haven’t run into teasing yet. Makes me feel better. I’ve had that same question of whether or not Zoe’s glasses were real. Always makes me laugh. There’s no way I’d pay the money or go through the hassle of glasses if it weren’t necessary, no matter how much I like them now.

        I got so used to the question of how an eye doctor can tell a baby’s prescription that I can probably recite the answer in my sleep now.

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  2. Oh I dread the day – if it happens. Aubrie is 4 1/2 and wore glasses to preschool all last year. She was the only kid in glasses, but never got teased at all. Most people think her glasses are adorable & the other little girls love them. I think glasses are so much more stylish and streamlined now than they were when we were younger. The thinner frames make a huge difference in the appearance. I’m really hoping that this isn’t ever and issue for us, but kids are cruel and I imagine one day it will be.

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  3. I suspect that when glasses are “new” and the other children aren’t used to seeing the kid in glasses, that’s when you get more of a reaction. Might it be easier if the kid has “ALWAYS” worn glasses? I’m no expert because my daughter is only 23 months old and just started wearing specs, but I do have a couple relevant anecdotes…

    My daughter was at a playground with her dad, and an older girl (6 years old or so) kept laughing very loudly and saying (repeatedly, to her father): “Ha ha! That baby has glasses! Ha Ha!” Well, my husband started to get concerned about her tone, worried that Stella was being ridiculed (not that Stella seemed to notice). But then, maybe because of her comments, the girl’s dad said it was time to leave. And the girl said she didn’t want to go, and the dad said she had to go, and that’s when the girl said, in reference to Stella, “But she’s soooooo CUUUUUUUTE!” She didn’t want to leave because she wanted to look at the cute little girl/baby in glasses. I thought that was interesting.

    We Skype with family a lot, including Stella’s 6-year-old cousin, who hadn’t seen Stella in glasses until the recent Skype video call. Well, his initial reaction wasn’t flattering. Looking at Stella, he furrowed his brow said something along the lines of “What are those weird …” (I assume he was going to say “glasses”) before my mom shushed him. Then he said how pretty Stella looked in her glasses. Again, I think the issue was that he was not used to seeing Stella in her glasses. Her face suddenly looked different to him. But with some help, he got over it fast!

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    • I expect you’re probably right that some of the teasing comes when there’s a dramatic change, and for those of us with kids who started very young in glasses, they’ll just always have been that way, at least to friends and schoolmates.

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  4. Our son has been in glasses since 6months and has gone to daycare daily with his glasses or glasses and a patch. Early on there was curiosity, but never teasing. For the most part it remained a minor curiosity for a brief while, maybe a few days, then he just was another of the gang.
    Interestingly, when we switched him to the patterned patches…the attention level spiked..in a good way.
    These days (he’s almost 4) there are now two more kids who now wear glasses. I like to think he helps them ease in to the new reality…

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  5. My daughter (5) has never been teased because of her glasses – the patch is another story. But, I have to say most of the attention from kids in her classes have been positive. And some of her friends have even said they want to get glasses because they like hers so much. My son (9) has worn glasses for several years. Last year there was a kid in his class who said that both my son and another boy were nerds because they wore glasses. This made my son pretty upset but the irony of it was that a month later that child needed to wear glasses and it was a whole new tune…

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  6. This morning, Zoe had swim lessons, and after lessons, she was getting dressed next to another girl about the same age that she’d never met before. We put her glasses on, and the girl turned to her mom, “why is she putting on glasses?” Her mom said that it was because she had to wear glasses. “But why does she have to wear glasses?” So I explained that they helped her see better. Then the girl turned to me, “but where did you get them?” Asked in the tone of someone who wants to know where someone got a fabulous pair of shoes or something. It was pretty cute.

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  7. I will have to say we’ve been very fortunate in that Emma has not been teased at all for wearing glasses. She got them just past her 4th birthday and has been wearing them for almost a year and a half now.

    Emma was halfway through her first year of preschool when she got her glasses and she was very apprehensive about wearing them to school. But none of her classmates teased her or said anything negative….if anything they were very curious and therefore would just look at her. That of course made her a bit more self-conscious but we talked about it…..that they were looking at her because they were curious about her glasses, not to be mean or hurt her feelings. After a week or so it was like second nature to everyone. I found out later that Emma’s best friend went home the day Emma wore her glasses for the first time and declared to her Mom that it wasn’t fair that Emma got to wear glasses and she wanted them too! Go figure! = )

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  8. I’ve noticed that adults will usually say either directly to me or to whomever they are with that my son looks adorable with his glasses. He is now 2 but has been wearing them since he was 6 months. The kids at the playground or in the store or at the library usually do not even notice the glasses. If they do notice them, I havent heard any teasing comments. The patch is another story. There have been a few occasions where kids about 6 or 7 will laugh and call him a pirate or one eyed willie. I dread the day he actually understands that they are making fun of him. Overall though most kids are just curious and like to ask me why he has a band-aid on his eye or how he hurt his eye.

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  9. Do elderly ladies with nasty comments count? I have had 2 in one week and it took all my sanity to respond calmly and kindly with a smile. Come on?

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  10. Agreed amomofelly!You should have a smart response that will really let them know you are not impressed! That way it will just roll off your tongue!

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    • Usually we just say she is excersizing her eye to make it stronger then ask the person, “Isn’t she an amazing kid to be able to do that?” Most people agree and compliment or just walk away. I want my daughter to know that she is an amazing kid and not to let some comment about her “eyes missing,” change that fact, so I really try to make it positive and upbeat all the time… even when I would like to…. (not even going to go there)

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  11. I find it interesting that most adults who comment or ask questions about Makenna’s glasses (she is just about 2) often tell me that they also had glasses as a baby or young child. Luckily no teasing yet, most of the little kids we know have simply accepted it and it helps that her big sister explains to the world that “Makenna wears glasses because she can’t see…she was born that way”..ha ha, at least we know she was sort of listening to us:) I worry about this so I am happy to read that most of the time kids aren’t being teased and hopefully glasses are more normal and accepted than in the past..I also agree that the fabulous options out there make it much more fun to wear glasses!

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  12. My daughter is 3 year 9 months and has been refusing to wear her glasses in school. I don’t think the kids tease her but she said no one else has them and she doesn’t want them. The issue is she’s really struggling to do her work without them and her teacher doesn’t make her wear them because she doesn’t want her to cry. We just decided to do a sticker chart each day and if she wears them all day she will get a stick of gum or a mint as her reward (she LOVES these two things). She also knows that “santa” sees everything and his elves call and check up on her. lol.

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  13. I’m a kid and I have got teased, but I don’t really mind cause I’ll just sass them. Plus I wouldn’t even tell my parents if I got teased.

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  14. My son is 10. He got his first pair of glasses last week. I was very concerned he would be teased and that this would immediately ruin his excitement. I let him pick out any pair he wanted. He chose a pair of Nike Flexon with neon green and Kelly green on them. They’re actually pretty cool and he looks adorable. He was so proud of them. And the day we picked them up he was so excited. He put them on and goes “Mom! they work! I CAN SEE!!!” And then we went around the store and he spent the entire time reading things.
    Of course my worst fears became reality when a little girl on the bus started picking on him. Now he doesn’t want to wear his glasses. It breaks my heart for him.
    Now the question becomes – Will it continue? How do I tell him to handle it so it stops? What’s the appropriate ladder to take to get it to stop if it does continue?
    I am a parent that believes the kids should learn to handle these situations on their own, however I will also not let this continue. I won’t allow this girl to pick on my son about his glasses. UGH.

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    • Oh no, JT, how frustrating that he’s being picked on. I tend to agree with you that kids need to learn how to deal with the situation, but we can certainly help them think through what they might say and be there to listen and support. Is the little girl picking on him in his class? If so, I would talk with the teacher and let him or her know what’s going on. Otherwise, maybe do some role-playing and practicing with your son about what he might say to the little girl. Good luck, and I hope you come back and update us on how he’s doing.

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