Originally Posted by limabean
Honestly, it must be cultural. All the posters who seem to have the highest tolerance for living with lice are from the UK.
Maybe they're extremely common over there and something people are used to just dealing with, but where I live they're something to be eradicated from the home immediately, and parents are cautious about passing them to others. Among my friends and I, it wouldn't be considered a matter of "shunning" a family for having lice -- the family with lice would *want* to limit contact while they dealt with the problem so that it didn't become more widespread.
It sounds like the OP lives in a culture more similar to mine -- it doesn't seem fair to judge her based on the culture of another area.
I'm from the US, but I live in Holland. I don't think anyone has a high tolerance for living with lice in Europe. I think there's just more of realistic, IMHO, approach to lice. Here, they're viewed as an unfortunate part of childhood.
There are regular inspections at school, usually done by parent volunteers who get training from the Health department. If a kid has lice, his/her parents are informed, and all the parents of kids in the class are informed to be vigilant (hair back in pigtails for long hair, combs to inspect, etc.) So there is a definite, concerted attempt to eradicate lice by the schools and the public health officials, which involves parents.
However, I would never not let my kid play with a friend who had lice. All the social issues aside, there really wouldn't be a point, because if the friend has them, they're probably going around school, or swimming lessons, or wherever anyway. To be honest, if you kept your kid away from a kid with lice, you'd probably be viewed as a super-paranoid weirdo!
I don't want lice and, thankfully, DS hasn't had them. But ... you know . . . if it happens, it happens. We've got the comb, we've got the info from the health department, we've got advice from other families who have had an infestation, and we'll just go with it. And, at least my DS will have friends to play with . .. .