Unfortunately for most, braces can be a source of anxiety and self-esteem issues. This can be heartbreaking for a parent to witness, and although the prospect of a healthy and beautiful smile is worth the (comparatively) short window of discomfort, we understand it can be hard to give your child a mature sense of perspective. The following, therefore, is a list of ideas and advice on how to boost your child’s confidence and make them feel assured and comfortable wearing their braces.
Highlight the Positives
This is an important element to factor into your discussions with your child. The positives always outweigh the negatives when it comes to braces, and it is good to emphasize this as the overarching message. Present the case that they will be a lot more comfortable and happier for having these braces and enduring the awkward stage, than if they had never had them at all. This doesn’t mean you should dismiss your child’s anxieties or negative feelings, but recognize them and present the positives as a stronger force to consider.
Focus on Other Physical Attributes
One of the reasons braces cause so much anxiety is the idea that they are drawing attention. Although, in reality, braces are subtle, and often even quite cute, it can be a good idea to give your child something different to focus on positively about their appearance. This can be a new haircut, a shopping spree or getting their nails done. This can also be seen as a bonding opportunity and for the two of you to spend time together, which will transform braces check-ups into a day of fun. Alternatively, some children may find this more unappealing and want to draw focus away from appearances entirely. In this case, finding a hobby or passion to distract themselves is a good idea, and encouraging them to embrace interests or pursue a new hobby can prevent these awkward feelings from arising.
Consider Invisible Braces
This is potentially the easiest way to remove the self-conscious issue of braces altogether. Invisible braces, or clear aligners, from companies like ALIGNERCO can be worn at just night time, or during the day- as they’re clear they are more subtle when compared to regular or more obvious braces. They perform just as well as regular braces at an affordable price, which negates the main cause of concern which many young people experience when first getting braces.
Care for Their Braces Properly
Neglecting the braces themselves can ensure that they are kept on for longer, and possibly that further intervention is needed to procure the straightest and healthiest smile. Keeping them clean and staying away from foods which can damage them, like sticky caramels or hard foods, are important tactics in keeping them in good working order. The fastest way to get braces off in the shortest period of time is to make sure they are working as effectively as possible, and informing your child of this will be an incentive to follow the orthodontist’s advice.
Make Them Fun!
It can be easy to associate braces with the stereotypical Hollywood dramatization, complete with chunky metal grids and headgear. However, it simply isn’t the case for modern braces which are subtle, and can even be dressed up to maximize their style aspect. Picking out different colors of rubber bands and metal brackets can even be a way for your child to express their creativity and get more stylish with their braces, which can be an encouragement to view them less as an aspect to hide, and more of one to show off and take pride in.
Share the Experience
One of the best ways to make someone feel better is to introduce them to a peer going through the same thing. See if there are any friends getting braces soon or already having them and instantly there will be a sense of the self-conscious aspect removed. If you, or any of your child’s siblings have had braces, this can be an instant comfort, and this sense of support can be a real help throughout their journey. If not, then learning how to make smoothies together or cooking braces-friendly foods as a family can help your child feel less alone and more supported. This, again, can help transform a negative experience into one that brings family together and provides an opportunity for fun and bonding which switches the mindset from negativity into positivity.
Hopefully this article has presented some useful advice to guide you through this time with your child. It is important to remember that while braces are always worth the effort in the long-term oral health of your child, acknowledging that it can be a difficult experience is all that is needed to comfort and parent your child through it.