Pour Your Heart Out: Fitting In

We learn very quickly as parents that there are so many fine lines we walk.

So many gray areas.

But, one thing I know for sure is that I want my kids to each be their own person.

To follow their hearts when it comes to their interests, likes, dislikes, hobbies, style, personality… everything.

To be who they are and be comfortable and confident in their own skin.

But here’s the gray area for me: I also want them to fit in.

I want them to have friends.

To not be bullied.

And sometimes, when you have quirky taste or think a little differently from the crowd, that doesn’t go over so well with the younger set.  They tend to not really get those who stick out as different.

By the time we are adults, we get it and admire those differences.

But kids? Not so much.

So where is the line between wanting our kids to be their own person and wanting them to fit in?

I have no desire to try to change my kids to make them fit in with whatever is popular, if it goes against their personalities.

But I don’t want them to be friendless either.

The grown up part of me knows that being an individual is a good thing and that I don’t want to try to push conformity.

But the part of me that just wants my kids to fit in, the part that remembers what it was like to be a kid who didn’t quite fit into any box, worries.

This is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time, but I thought even more about it after readings a post at The Literal Mom and one at Life Ever Since.  Is this something you worry about, too?

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Comments

    • Shell says

      So painful to be that kid who doesn’t fit in. I don’t want my kids to have to deal with that… yet keeping them as individuals. Gah. I have no clue on this one!

  1. says

    I hear ya. I’m not a parent..but I was bullied. It was when I was trying to fit in. Grade 10, mean girls, made fun of me, called me things, made me feel uglier than them. They always had to be number 1. By grade 11 I dropped them and grade 12 I did fabulously, but it took a lot of growing up and standing up for myself. 
    If your kids are as loved and given confidence as I think you strive for, they’ll be golden. We all hit bumps in the road, makes us better beings. I’m a strong chick for what I went through. I hope the same for your kids! ;) Confidence. 
    TrishaJayne recently posted..Help – Focus NeededMy Profile

    • Shell says

      Almost everyone probably has a story of not fitting in… but it’s so painful to go through at the time. I just want my kids to have an easy time of it, I guess!

  2. says

    I actually haven’t worried about this too much. Maybe because my son is so very much his own person, but not (yet) in a way that stands out as ill-fitting, that I haven’t had to. But I know just what you mean.
    Robin | Farewell, Stranger recently posted..Judging OthersMy Profile

    • Shell says

      I haven’t really dealt with it all that much, just little things that have come up. I struggled when my oldest was loving playing with a few of the boys in his class… but those boys were excluding certain other boys. And I didn’t know how much to push my child to include the others and how much to let it go so that he wouldn’t then be excluded. Which sort of made me feel like crap, b/c of course I want him to be nice to everyone. 

  3. says

    I think, that sometimes – if you let your kid know that they are loved no matter what – they might not end up being the most popular, but will still not be bullied.  I say this from watching my cousin raise her 3 boys.  Each with a totally different personality.  The youngest – the most “lovable” – and by far, the most “popular” .. the middle… the more “awkward” – but – the most comfortable in his skin, and the oldest – the most “easily influenced” – but still respectful and reliant on his parents as a teen.  They all know unconditional love.  They all fail to be pushed around by bullies even though they all don’t fit the norm.  Leading by her example, I hope my kids will be able to do the same.
    Kristen recently posted..A Price Tag on My FriendshipMy Profile

    • Shell says

      That’s a pretty thought, but I’m not sure how much it matters to the middle schooler who has no friends but mom loves him, you know? Not that I think my kids are headed to that extreme, but that is some kids’ reality.

  4. says

    I worried about this for some time, mostly because of my oldest.  His AS makes it near impossible to socialize with his peers.  They don’t/can’t understand him and it’s completely reciprocated from his end.  I really started to worry with starting middle school and then starting high school.  I wanted more than anything for him to have “friends”.  

    Recently, it hit me.  He is completely content with himself and the few “friends” (who by the way, were all seniors).  His friendships were relationships that remained at school/band.  He has no drive to carry those friendships outside of those locations, but he is happiest this way.   It made me think, he is having the type of relationships that work best for him, the least stressful for him, and that is OK.

    Regret-ably he has met his share of bullying, but I think his AS has helped him cope with it better than many people.  

    Sometimes, I see how he copes with everyday life and I wonder if his AS wasn’t a blessing for him.  
    Oka recently posted..Soccer, Soccer, SoccerMy Profile

    • Shell says

      Sounds like your son has found his way. I’d be okay with my kids having just a few really good and close friends and not being the “popular” kids. My worries come from it heading to extremes, you know?

  5. says

    I think about this alot especially with my 10 year old and 12 year old. I want my children to feel comfortable in their own skin, but I also want them to understand that sometimes the less said the better. For example, maybe you have an 11 year you love love love birds. He is bird crazy. Well that is not really “cool” in middle school. So I would still want my child to follow his interests and passions, but maybe not broadcast it to the entire middle school. Maybe not wear a bird shirt every day or start every conversation with a bird story. Share this passion with close friends and people who he respects, but it doesn’t need to be the end all/be all of his existence. I think that as parents we need to try to help our children fit into the “social norms” just because in the long run it will serve them better in life. Help them get jobs, help them get into colleges, help them get promotions, etc. I don’t think I am expressing what I am thinking all that well, but it is late and this is a “heavy” subject. It’s something I think most parents think about.

  6. says

    I want my kids to fit in too. I don’t want them to compromise who they are or what they believe,  but I do want them to have friends. Watching my oldest struggle with some issues with his peers before completely broke my heart. It’s so hard.
    Kimberly recently posted..Yesterday I Was UglyMy Profile

  7. says

    Oh I think about this. I’ve even sort of written about this – about how my toddler seems to be always outside looking in, and I’m not sure if it’s just a phase, or it’s who he is. I desperately want him to “be like other kids”, at the same time, I desperately want him to be his own person. 

    I don’t know, I think he’ll have to find his way, and I have to find a way to guide him through the mess that is life, and hope both of us make it unscathed.
    Alison@Mama Wants This recently posted..Notes To Self: The 3am EditionMy Profile

    • Shell says

      I think all our kids will make it through- b/c we’ll be there for them. But I don’t think it’s wrong for us to want it to be easy on them.

  8. says

    Yes, because watching kids be singled out for their differences and watching others try desperately to fit in is part of my every day. I want the same things for my children as well, but I see what happens when they don’t. It warms my heart when I see the rare child who is celebrated and appreciated by their peers for being just a little quirky… it does happen, but not often enough!
    Sorta Southern Single Mom recently posted..Pour Your Heart Out: Burnt OutMy Profile

    • Shell says

      I think that’s where my fear comes in. Having seen it as a teacher… I don’t want my kids to have that hard road.

  9. says

    My twins are too young to worry about this with them yet, but definitely with my 5 year old. I’ve already witnessed a few occasions where quirks baffled older children, but at least he hasn’t been bullied (so far). I do worry about it.
    Lisa @ Two Bears Farm recently posted..The Reusable Bags DilemmaMy Profile

  10. says

    My son is only 18 months but I worry about it. I never really fit in till I was in college and I don’t want him to have the same experience. But at the same time I dont’ want to push him to be someone he’s not. He’s quiet and shy like me and that makes me worry.
    Julia recently posted..18 MonthsMy Profile

    • Shell says

      You sound like me. I didn’t really find my place til even after college. I want my kids to have it easier.

  11. says

    My oldest attended a small private Catholic school 5-8th grade. In 6th grade, all the girls in the class (7 or 8 of them, as I recall) ganged up against one chubby girl they just decided they didn’t like. My daughter had become friends with Sarah, who was a sweetie. The other girls picked on Sarah and told Alexis she had to choose between them and her friend.

    Alexis tried to be the peacekeeper, to explain they could all be friends like before. Fortunately, my husband and I had spent years keeping the communication lines open with our girls. Alexis came to us in tears, and after talking with us, stood firm with her friend, which was what she had wanted to do, and was just looking for confirmation. It was a year of being severely sharpened and ostracized for our daughter, and the situation did not ever really get settled in spite of going to the teacher and principal. I felt so bad for Sarah, and she ended up transferring to another school at the end of the year.

    As difficult as the year was, we would not have done it differently, nor would have Alexis. She said later how glad she was she stood with her friend rather than bowing to peer pressure, as awful as it made her life that year.

    Middle school girls can be mean girls. Sometimes being different just means standing up for what is right, and often is not popular.
    Kim recently posted..Finding gratitude amidst the stormMy Profile

  12. says

    All of my kids have always had their own personalities. My oldest pretty much lived in his red, rain boots and super hero cape when he was 4. Now he is twelve, and he has plenty of friends, but he is not really a follower. He has his own interests. At this age I’m glad, because some kids start to get into things that we would not want our child into.
    Patricia P recently posted..Taco CasseroleMy Profile

  13. says

    I totally know what you mean! I think about that stuff too. One of my older girls is quite quirky. Really funny actually – but it’s like adult funny. I always think she’s going to make a great adult, but if she’s not careful she’s going to set her up to be picked on for certain things too. The area I’m struggling with most right now is in developing their talents and interests. One of them would do nothing but draw if I let her. That’s great but there’s not really an art club in high school? So, I am constantly thinking about are they doing something now that can lead them to fit in later? In the teen years, especially high school, I think that’s really important. And I want them to have at least ONE thing physical because for their health (and social life) it’s important. But I need to make sure I am listening to them and not pushing them to be someone or not. What a fine line, huh?
    Kimberly recently posted..The Gymnastics ShowMy Profile

  14. says

    I am constantly worrying about my kids fitting in.  It’s just something i do.  I think it’s natural.  We all want our kids to belong.  Like you, I want them to be individuals too, so yes, it’s definitely a fine line that we have to navigate.
    Kmama recently posted..Memories in the MakingMy Profile

  15. says

    I’ve been struggling with something similar with my little guy lately…I worry so much about him being bullied, but also about him being pressured into bullying others because he’s a pretty social kid. How do I teach him to be kind to everyone, how to stand up for himself at the right times/back down at other times, etc. UGH. Can’t they just stay in preschool forever? Kindergarten even kicked my ass a bit this year…and now I’m terrified of what will go down in 1st grade. 
    Mary recently posted..’50 Shades of Grey’ Movie Better Turn Me OnMy Profile

    • Shell says

      Keep them in a preschool bubble where everyone is just nice. That would be my choice.

  16. says

    I worry so much about this very same thing. As much as I want my boys to be their own person, I really want life to be easier for them than it was for me. Sigh.
    Barbara recently posted..Pins & NeedlesMy Profile

  17. says

    I struggle with this a little, too. My daughter is highly imaginative, and sometimes she’s creating all these stories and little scenarios that are just so far out there. I love that about her, but couple with her shyness/slowness in warming up to new situations, I feel she will be left behind a little. Of course we worry about that, even though we do want them to be their own people. I think it’s especially hard if you struggled with it yourself, because you know how it hurts (at least I do.)
    angela recently posted..Fingers CrossedMy Profile

  18. says

    I worry about this too, especially with my older kids. I never want them to try and make themselves into something they are not but I also don’t want them to be the object of ridicule. The best I can do is encourage them to try as many new things as possible and let them decide who they want to be. 
    Delilah recently posted..The Reason I Hate Real Estate ShowsMy Profile

  19. says

    My Pule is only 2 so while I think I have time to still ponder this and consider how best to “help”, I really don’t as now is the time to help her figure this out.  Tough stuff to wade through.  Unfortunately I think this will be something in the back of our minds (if not in the very front) for the rest of our parenting life.
    Leah aka FFPMaMMa recently posted..One-sided LoveMy Profile

  20. says

    Oh my gosh I read an article (somewhere – exactly where is escaping me) about how they’d done a study of people who conformed in school versus people who didn’t and it showed that those who did were far more successful and happy as adults! Which I remember really clearly because it was horrible and I was like, frick, guess I’m gonna have to make my kids conform.

    • Shell says

      Oh, that’s really interesting. Here I like to think that those who conformed back in high school are now miserable adults. Oops.

  21. says

    I think it’s perfectly normal to worry. I do it too, even though I know my children are cursed (and blessed) to grow up weird. Who knows, maybe they’ll become comedians.
    KLZ recently posted..Six Impossible ThingsMy Profile

    • Shell says

      There ya go! :) 

      My oldest is so very much like me. Which means he doesn’t easily fit in with the norm. As an adult, I’m okay with this. As a child, it was hard.

  22. says

    I try to instill in my kids that it is OK to be different.. but I know they have a long road ahead of them. Kids are mean evil little creatures that will bully anyone who isn’t just like them if they aren’t taught better. I also want my kids to stand up for themselves and not take bullying either.  It breaks my heart every time one of my kids comes home and says that someone was mean to them. They know that bullying is wrong but as a parent, there’s no way to stop it from happening to our own babies.
    Deanna recently posted..PYHO: Sometimes All I Want…My Profile

    • Shell says

      I wish there was a way to stop the bullying. I really don’t see one, unfortunately. 

  23. says

    This is such a fine line to cross.  I get torn on this issue too – thank you for your honesty. 
    Ilene recently posted..LuckyMy Profile

  24. says

    Oh I so so understand and agree with this- it is so hard. So hard to find that right balance. I love who my kids are but I also worry for them so much. I wasn’t really popular in school but I always had at least a best friend but especially with my oldest I worry that he doesn’t even have that especially with how much we move.
    I just try to build them up and praise them and let them know I love them no matter what and hope that this will help through those times when they are teased or feel left out. But I also do try and guide them and help them when they are behaving in ways that might drive people away– I think even as adults we all know someone who is just a little socially awkward who we wish we could just help a little.
    Great post as always
    Emmy recently posted..Your Daugther Wears What?My Profile

    • Shell says

      It is hard with moves- though some kids really adapt to that and it actually helps them to be more social. 

  25. Mel says

    I do think about this. My daughter is only 3, but she, like her mother, marches to her own drum beat. She is bright and outgoing but I worry that as she gets older that other kids will squash her quirky little spirit. Motherhood is filled with such bittersweet stuff sometimes.

  26. says

    That’s a hard one because you don’t want them to rely on people for their happiness and identity. You want them to be emotionally healthy and stand on their own to feet and do what is right. You don’t want them caving in on what they know is right just to be a part of the in crowd. Balance is crucial. I’ve seen kids cave in. I’ve even seen that happen with my own at times, especially as pre-teens and teens. It’s so important to ‘fit in’, to not be rejected but at the same time you don’t want them compromising on their morals, beliefs and so forth. As a mom it takes a lot of prayer.
    Ms Kathleen recently posted..Contentment – To Live is ChristMy Profile

  27. says

    I think about this all the time. I think it is because as adults we can see that it really was okay to be ourselves and how much happier we could have been as kids if we had just settled into our own skin. It’s hard to get them to accept that though, and that while everyone might not get it or like them, the people that do will be the ones that are around forever.
    Jennifer recently posted..Blueberry Pound CakeMy Profile

    • Shell says

      Looking back, it seems so easy. Being in the middle of it as a child, so not easy.

  28. says

    Oh, goodness yes. I have fears about my Landon not fitting in. He can be very timid around new people and sometimes they say he likes to play by himself at preschool, which hurts my heart. I don’t want him to be left out.
    molly recently posted..Circus ActMy Profile

    • Shell says

      No, we don’t want them to be left out, but some kids are happier on their own. Hard to find the balance.

  29. says

    I have these same worries.  I know it’s normal to feel like this, but it doesn’t make things any easier.  My daughter seems to fit in and still be herself, but I’m not sure with my son.  He is so full of personality, but can also be very quiet and reserved.  I fear he will follow the crowd and lose part of who he is.  It’s such a fine line.
    Evonne recently posted..Mirror, MirrorMy Profile

  30. says

    I hear ya! It’s so difficult to walk that line. I have the same thoughts at times. But I think being themselves and not following the crowd wins out every time because it carries you for the long haul. It’s amazing the wonderful difficult things we as parents have to help our kids navigate through. We do our best each and every day and in the end that is all that matters. 
    Queen Bee recently posted..Pool TimeMy Profile

    • Shell says

      That’s true. But it’s also easy to see that as an adult, not so easy when you are a child and in the middle of it.

  31. says

    I know exactly what you are talking about. I worry this same thing too with my oldest. She is such a great kid, but she struggles in friendships. She doesn’t have that one best friend. She is really like me in that sense. But as a child you can’t see that one day it really won’t matter as much. As a parent, I really want her to fit it, but does it really matter? Yes and no. I do know this, I will not push her into things that she doesn’t want to do just to fit in. It’s not that important.
    Tiffany recently posted..PYHO: Little EMy Profile

    • Shell says

      As a child, everything seems so big and awful in the moment, so it’s hard to expect them to just take it from adults that it will all be okay someday.

  32. says

    When I think of my own childhood, I realize my son does a better job of fitting in than I did/still do. It’s hard because there are so many things my son does that will make him stand out – he’s only in kindergarten, but when he gets older he won’t fit in anymore. And that’s a shame. He’s still the same person, but as his friends get older they will realize that my son drools, falls alot, and cries at the drop of a hat. They probably won’t be doing any of that. In kindergarten that kind of stuff is still ok.
    All the things that make us ‘stand out’ are what make us special. And then in elementary school those things are squashed down inside a person, buried through high school, hopefully to resurface when you’re an adult. And that’s a real shame, trying to find the person you once were, way back in kindergarten.
    Angela recently posted..Little Miss Adorable, Speech, Language and Swear WordsMy Profile

  33. says

    my Jack is a weird kid…like really really weird.  But he likes himself and thinks he’s funny…so what can we do? His kindergarten teacher often commented on how “quirky” he is, and there have been quite a few mom who have asked me if he’s autistic….nope, it’s just Jack…
    Not a Perfect Mom recently posted..Why Kids Are Assholes-Part 1My Profile

  34. says

    I think about this a lot too. I didn’t fit in as a child and our daughter is going into her pre-teen years, which is when I started not fitting in socially. I turned out great, but I would hope that my daughter doesn’t have the social issues I had, but still don’t want it to be at the detriment of her education and future. When I wasn’t “fitting in” a lot of it had to do with the fact that I was smart and didn’t want to dumb myself down to have people like me. I wasn’t rude, don’t get me wrong, but kids were still of the mindset of the nerds vs. the popular crowd. I don’t want my daughter to have to make any compromises of who she is just to fit in, which is exactly what you are writing about!
    Heather recently posted..Boys Sleeping – Or Not So Much?My Profile

    • Shell says

      I totally understand that! I was in all the “nerd” classes. I was okay with it and wasn’t going to dumb myself down to fit in, but it was still hard sometimes. 

  35. says

    I worry about this a lot with my twins. My daughter is sometimes socially awkward and my son is just nutty. He loves to make people laugh but sometimes it’s embarrassing. I am going to hate it when someone rains all over his little parade.
    AnnMarie recently posted..Guest Post: Leo SpeaksMy Profile

  36. says

    We had a brief experience with bullying a few years ago. It sucked. When the mothers couldn’t work it out I called the other boys father and calmly explained that I was going to beat him and his 8 year-old son silly if the nonsense didn’t stop.

    It was a very rough experience and fortunately it all worked out, but I remember how torn up I felt when I made that call. 
    Jack@TheJackB recently posted..A Father Describes ParentingMy Profile

  37. Makeda says

    Since we’ve move this has been something that my family and I have had to help my son deal with.  Being the new kid is never easy.  It has been my prayer that I am able to assist him as he develops into the person that God created him to be.  Through this prayer God has helped my husband and I to talk to him about the reality of things. Not to frighten him, but to help him to realize that being his own person is important. He also has come to realize that there are some kids that he may want to hang around, but they may not be good for him.  Fitting in is something that we all struggle with and we just have to take it one day at at time. Loving and nurturing our kids will help them with anything that they will ever deal with. None of us may have the answeres but as long as we pray, God will help us to help our kids be their best, whether they fit in or not.

    I have felt the same way that you have.  I have not felt equipped for the challenge. 

    I hope that God gives you the tools you need to properly equip your kids to walk through life as confident, fun-loving, great people. I read a book by either Stephen Covey of John Bevere, (I can’t remember which one) where he discussed the fact that his son was having this same problem. As he and his wife helped his son learn to deal with his problems, he developed into a great young man.  As an adult he excels in human relations an conflict management.  It is apparent in his lifestyle and his coworkers admire and respect him for it.  They also go to him when they need help in these areas.  

    I pray they you receive the tools to assist you as you propel your children to a place of individual self confidence that encourages, inspires, and challenges their peers.

    (Sorry this was so long)
    Makeda recently posted..Walk It Out Wednesday 6/6/12My Profile

    • Shell says

      Moving just seems to make it harder… unless your child loves change and learns to make being the new kid work for them. It’s all hard. 

  38. says

    We have always walked to the beat of a different drummer. That said, I think it’s hard for kids to be different. And by different I mean weird different. I try to buy them trendy but reasonably priced clothes and I encourage them to be leaders wherever they are…school, Girl Scouts, church…I also want them to be kind and inclusive. I hope all those things will come back to them. Being a kid is so hard. It’s not my job to make it worse.
    Sandy
    momof12 recently posted..Graduation PartyMy Profile

  39. says

    Had my first experience as a mom with kids who weren’t so nice to my little girl just b/c she was dressed different (in her leotard). I dread the years ahead and hope I can help her be the strong, confident girl I know she can be, even when she gets teased for just being herself.

    Excited to be pouring my heart out this week for the 1st time…
    OneMommy recently posted..ForgivenessMy Profile

    • Shell says

      Glad you joined in! I was out of town so I haven’t had a chance to read any of the links yet, but I will this weekend!

  40. says

    I think it’s hard. I told my husband I actually don’t want my kids to be popular, because so many of those kids are mean and materialistic. Not all of them, but a lot of them, and there is so much pressure in that kind of group. I wouldn’t mind actually if my kid was a little bit nerdy, as long as he had other little slightly nerdy friends. I figure if they have friends and seem happy with those friends, if those friends have a good influence on them, then that’s great. It would break my heart to find out my kid is a loner though. It’s tough!
    Suzie recently posted..The Girl I Used To BeMy Profile

    • Shell says

      Popularity seems to come with its own problems. I think I’d like my kids to be somewhere in the middle- have friends but not get into the popular drama. 

  41. says

    It’s a tough balance, and I think we all have to figure it out on our own, how much we are willing to “conform” or give in to social norms. I can imagine it’s so hard to watch your own child go through that social dance, but I know you will be there when they need you.
    jenn @ so this is love recently posted..Full Steam AheadMy Profile

    • Shell says

      My oldest loves pink, too. He has a few pink collared shirts and he wears them with no problem. I put my middle son in one of his brother’s hand-me-down pink shirts. I think he looked cute- pink collared shirt, khaki shorts… Hubs wears stuff like that. But middle son came home from school and tore the shirt off and said that kids made fun of him for wearing it and called him a girl. I haven’t put him back in that shirt since.

  42. says

    Oh, wow!  What a lovely surprise to see my post linked to today!  I know I linked it to PYHO when I wrote it.  And yes, I’m right there with you STILL.  I admire my kids’ individuality, but I see the need for “same” continue to rise up, especially with my oldest – who just finished 4th grade.  

    I don’t have the answers except to say this – if I thought it was hard LIVING it, I think it’s a heckuva lot harder WATCHING your children live it.  One of those pains we can’t bear for them and that hurts.  

    Thank so much for the mention, Shell!  
    Missy | Literal Mom recently posted..Old-Fashioned Summer – Ensure Success with a ScheduleMy Profile

    • Shell says

      That’s so true- knowing that they are hurting… so hard. 

      I loved that post of yours. It’s been a while, but I saved it in draft as a note to remind myself whenever I got around to writing about this!

  43. says

    I worry about this all the time. My son is starting second grade in the fall and this year, he was one of the kids in the class that everyone liked. He stood up for the kid who struggled and helped that boy fit in — I couldn’t have been more proud of him. But he’s not a natural athlete and he is a natural bookworm, like both of his parents (who didn’t quite fit in ever), so I know the potential is there. That and he’s decided he wants to take tap lessons. I’m fine with that (I’d better be since I’m the one teaching them), but I know not every elementary school aged boy is. My son has watched me dance and he just thinks it is cool…
    IASoupMama recently posted..Mid-Life LionessMy Profile

  44. says

    I never thought about this, but I think it’s an important and very interesting topic. I was bullied often as a child which I think definitely helped to mold me into the person I am today. That being said, it was definitely not always easy to be the odd one out with the big hair and oversized glasses. But you know, as cliche as it sounds, it DID make me a strong, unique young woman and I’m proud of my eccentricities now. I know it’s harder for the young ones, but who wants to conform to the norm (I know, I know… easier said than done, believe me). 
    Charlotte recently posted..Giverny by way of the New York Botanical GardenMy Profile

    • Shell says

      I hear ya. I think that being the odd one out helped me, too. But I’m still not sure I want my kids to go through that pain.

  45. says

    I completely know what you mean. I don’t know how to walk that fine line either. I don’t want my kids to feel left out, I don’t want them to be followers either. I think the best we can do is make them confident in who they are and hope that others are attracted to that confidence and self assurance and any quirks are accepted and even admired. 
    Marta recently posted..I Try.My Profile

  46. says

    I think, as moms all of us worry about this with our kids from time to time. Kids can be so cruel and hoping that ours fit in and won’t be bullied or made fun off is only natural. I have felt that way and feel that way whenever a new social situation comes up for one of mine.
    Susi recently posted..I’m Baking… Thursdays {Scones}My Profile

  47. says

    {Melinda} Oh, Shell, I think this is so hard! I have two kids that don’t “fit the mold.” They have very special and valuable qualities, but these qualities aren’t always the ones most prized by society. I don’t want them to change or sacrifice their uniqueness in order to be more accepted by kids or society in general. But seeing them struggle at times is really hard. I think I try to remember that the struggles they have are important steps in building their character and making them into adults that are comfortable and secure in who they are. It is SO hard to watch, though. I want to fix it (as if I could!)
    Mothering From Scratch recently posted..we might be mothering the hard way if …My Profile

  48. says

    I guess the real question would be, what is your definition of “fitting in”? What it means to you may not be the same thing that it will mean to them. Also, does “fitting in” with the so-called “normal” crowd really matter? Is it really that important? Or, is it more important for them to explore and find out who they are on their own, knowing that whomever they will be, whomever they are… is something beautiful. We all have our own paths to walk, and as a parent, I KNOW it is hard when we perceive that they are struggling or feeling down, but it is all a part of this crazy lovable madness called life. You want them to be confident and be who they are which is beautiful. See them that way at all times and they will as well! Bless! Love, Leslie.
    Leslie recently posted..what other people think of you is none of your business.My Profile

    • Shell says

      Very true. So many different definitions of fitting in. I think for me, I just mean that they have friends and arent picked on much. Doesn’t mean they have a million friends or are in the “popular” crowd, but that they don’t go to school every day fearing all the awful things that will be said to them, either. 

  49. says

    I do think about this (often) and I’ve talked to my kids about it a tiny bit. Like you said, as adults we admire different but when we encourage it in our kids without at least giving them a heads up of how they might be perceived, almost seems unfair?

    Le sigh. This one’s a toughie, isn’t it?
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  50. says

    Yes! Yes! A thousand times, yes! 

    My child kisses me incessantly. Like, when I’m dropping him off at school. Over and over. Kids stare. He does lots of things that aren’t “normal” and I want him to fit in, but I won’t hurt his feelings in the process. He’s completely unaware that kids are looking at him. I need to live in his world…
    Teresa (Embracing the Spectrum) recently posted..GraduationMy Profile

  51. says

    I’ve had something similar on my mind lately too. I want my oldest to find an interest-get excited about something. ANYTHING! But, he doesn’t play sports, very shy, scared to try new things…I don’t want to push him b.c that could blow up in my face, but I also don’t want him to miss out on things just because he’s scared to try them. If you don’t want to be Mr. athletic, then fine. WHAT do you want to do? I don;t want him to pretend to be someone’s he’s not, but I also want him to have socials skills that come from sampling interests. I know this is a little off from what you’re talking about. I guess it just sparked what I’ve been thinking about. Why does parenting have to be so darn hard?
    Adrienne recently posted..Less is MoreMy Profile

  52. Theresa Sumpter says

    I see my daughter not fitting in with the “crowds” that she wants to fit in. She has many friends, but she doesn’t seem to be “socially mature”. Counselors from middle school say she was fine and very well liked, but I find that she really is more like “tolerated” instead of wanted. My heart is breaking. It’s not just in school, but at church, too. She has always had a “boisterous” type of attitude and loves to be dramatic about issues and all. She has gotten herself in a lot of trouble with running her mouth on issues that were none of her business, but I think she just wants to “make that point”, you know? But even though she speaks out, her looks doesn’t really show it. We are always buying clothes, make up, something for hair, just to find that it’s never enough. She a bit overweight, which is genetic, and the doc has her on medications that is for optic nerve swelling which also decreases her appetite. Shes knows this works because it did before, but now, she won’t take the pills. It’s a constant battle. This is my 4th child, but the others were boys and were confident in the way they were and didn’t care if they fit in or not. I’ve tried talking with her in a loving matter, tried to give advice, tried accepting her the way she is, tell her I love her, tell her she’s pretty, but she just won’t go the extra mile to…….I just don’t know how to put it in words. Maybe it’s just me…….I just want her to be happy.

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