As we were pulling into our driveway the other night, something in our conversation sparked our daughter to say “Dad, that’s not weird, being normal is the new weird”.

How right she is!  I don’t need to tell you that every one of us is unique in our own special way.  But, I was recently reminded of this during a conversation over coffee with a wonderful and really insightful friend. Each of us has a unique way of feeling, thinking, and interacting with others. Some of us are shy, while others are outgoing; some are active, while others are calm; some are fretful, while others are easy-going.

And as a loving and nurturing parent, it’s our job to encourage our children to embrace their uniqueness and celebrate their individual qualities, essential to our children’s happiness and sense of self-worth.

And as a loving and nurturing mom, it is our job to embrace our personal uniqueness and celebrate our individual strengths—essential to our own happiness and sense of self-worth.

Comparison and disappointment

As mothers it can be so difficult to extricate ourselves from wanting our children to love what we love and wanting them to enjoy what we enjoy, or what we think they should love and enjoy.  Have you ever caught yourself comparing your child to someone else’s?  Thinking, my child would be wonderful, if only she…

I have, and I’ve felt ashamed to admit it.  I have been discouraged at times by my child’s choices and interests.  Interests that somehow don’t seem as well, interesting as some other children’s interests.  Or wondering why she can’t just…be more like that kid over there.

And do you find from time to time that you are comparing yourself to other moms?  Thinking, it would be wonderful, if only I…

I have.  I’ve been discouraged at times by my own choices and interests, feeling they don’t measure up in someone else’s opinion.  Or wondering why I can’t just…be more like that mom over there, more pulled together, more involved in the classroom, more interesting.

Quite honestly, my whole life used to be filled with comparison, always finding disappointment and dissatisfaction with who I was.  And what kind of example do you think I was setting for my daughter?  Not a very good one, that’s for sure.

where do you go from here?

Here’s how you can help you child foster happiness and accept their uniqueness:

*Allow you child to express themselves through their interests.  If it’s something you are not familiar with or don’t enjoy yourself, look for another trusted adult who can relate to and support your child’s ideas and interests

*Encourage them to embrace what they like to do, what interests them, and what makes them happy.  Help them realize that they don’t need to worry about being ‘like everyone else.’

*Create an open door of communication for your child to express his feelings about who he is, why he might feel he is unusual, and what reactions he experiences.

*Intervene when necessary, especially at school.  Children with quirky behavior can be the targets of bullying, taunting, and rejection, so be aware.

*Help him discover his unique skills and talents and provide the tools with which he can explore and develop his other assets.

*Teach her traits that may not be in her behavioral repertoire but that do not squelch her inner exuberance. That may be as simple as showing her that there is a time and a place for everything. For instance, dancing and singing a song made up on the spot is wonderful, but it is not wonderful during science class.

*Accept and celebrate your child’s uniqueness. Be curious and open to what interests them—you may find a new passion along the way.

*Be compassionate and kind with yourself when you find it hard to accept that your child does not have the innate abilities or desires to be the person you expected her to be, and understand there are a lot of reasons to celebrate the wonderful person she is.

*And finally, encourage your child to be true to themselves by doing the same.  Model for your child how important it is to celebrate and love the unique person you are.

                (Some of these tips are resourced from  GreatSchools Staff)

As for accepting my own uniqueness all ultimately fostering my own happiness and fulfillment, I finally mastered what works for me…that’s what The Inspired Mama is all about and why I do the work that I do.

Big love,

Karen Gruber – the Inspired Mama