Letting Kids Be Kids: The Importance of Embracing Differences

When I was a kid, I always felt like I didn’t fit in. I was too quiet, too nerdy, and too different from everyone else. My parents tried to make me more ‘normal’, but it only made me feel worse. Now that I’m a parent myself, I don’t want to repeat the same mistake with my children.

As parents, we all want our children to succeed and be happy. But sometimes, in our quest for success, we push our kids too hard and forget that they are individuals with unique strengths and weaknesses. Also, in today’s society, there is a lot of pressure on children to be ‘normal’. But what does that even mean? And why do we put so much emphasis on it?

In this blog post, we’ll explore why it’s important to stop pushing our kids to be ‘normal’ and instead embrace their unique qualities.

Let’s start with the what, why and how of being normal.

  • What is ‘normal’?
    • The definition of ‘normal’ varies depending on whom you ask. If we force a child to fit into someone else’s idea of ‘normal’ can be damaging to a child’s self-esteem.
  • Why do we push our kids to be ‘normal’?
    • Society has set some rules and has certain expectations of what a child should be like. Parents want their children to fit in and be accepted by their peers.
  • How dangerous it is to push our kids to be ‘normal’?
    • Children who are forced to conform and give in to societal pressure may lose their sense of self. It can lead to loss of confidence, indecisiveness, fear of the unknown, nervousness and unhappiness.

In straightforward terms, the pressure to be “normal” can be overwhelming for kids, especially when they are constantly being compared to their peers. This pressure can lead to apprehension, hopelessness, or severe mental health issues. According to a study by Stanford University, children who are pressured to conform to social norms are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem than those who are encouraged to express their individuality.

So how can we stop pushing our kids to be normal? Here are a few tips:

  • Celebrate their differences – Instead of trying to make your child fit into a certain mould, celebrate their unique qualities and interests.
  • Motivate them to try new things – Let your child explore different activities and hobbies without worrying about whether they are “good” at them.
  • Focus on effort, not just results – Instead of only praising your child when they get good grades or win a competition, praise them for their hard work and effort.
  • Be a good role model – Kids learn by example, so make sure you are modelling healthy behaviours and attitudes.
  • Accept their unique qualities – Every child is different and has something special to offer. Encourage them to be themselves and help them build their life around it, which will lead to greater happiness and success.

As parents, we want our children to be happy and successful. But sometimes we forget that happiness and success come from being true to ourselves and not from fitting into someone else’s idea of ‘normal’.

So let’s stop pushing our kids to be ‘normal’ and start celebrating their differences. Let’s stop forcing our kids to fit into a ‘normal’ mould. Instead, let’s celebrate their individuality and help them grow into their true potential. By doing so, we can create a world where everyone is respected and appreciated for who they are.

After all, as Dr Seuss said: ‘Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.

Remember, your child’s happiness and well-being should always come first. By letting go of the pressure to be “normal,” you can help your child thrive and reach their full potential.

Reference links –

  1. https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/once-upon-child/201601/the-high-price-pushing-kids-too-hard
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/oct/04/we-need-stop-pushing-our-kids-parents
  3. https://www.weareteachers.com/stop-expecting-normal-from-kids-and-teachers/

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