Some small children don’t care what anyone thinks about them. But helping children embrace their uniqueness is hard growing up. If they want to sing at the top of their lungs, they sing at the top of their lungs. If they want to wear a silly hat, mix-matched socks or gloves on a hot day, they do it – with no regard for how others might judge their eccentricities.
Somewhere along the line, though, most children long to fit in and begin to worry that their differences make them stand out – and not in a good way. So, they try to conform to what they perceive their peers or society expect from them. They become embarrassed or sad about their differences, maybe feel that people think they are strange, and that other kids won’t like them or won’t play with them.
Remind them that differences make people special
While it’s natural for children to long to fit in with their peers, it’s also important for them to understand that their individuality is what makes them unique. Differences are interesting and life enriching, part of the message is that you should appreciate the diverse traits in everyone you know and also appreciate what makes you special.
Talk to them about the ways in which they shine
Kids like talking about themselves, So get them involved in a conversation about what they are good at. Maybe that is sports. Maybe it is writing. Maybe they make good grades or they are a good big brother or friend. Whatever their special talent is, explore it with them so they know that there is something they do well.
Encourage them to help other kids feel good about themselves
Young people can feel empowered not only by embracing their differences, but also by providing support and being a friend to others who are different. When you help a child pick out positive things about themselves, they begin to focus on that, not the hurtful things that weigh so heavy on their hearts and minds.
And in truth, other children sometimes will bully a child who is seen as different. It’s important for them and all children to believe in themselves. They need to understand that different is okay. It’s our differences that make us special.
My two girls are so unlike one another that it’s almost shocking. My oldest daughter, Hailey is a 15 year old who is creative and she is loyal to her friends, she’s everything I wish I was as a teen. She’s smart and well rounded in everything. Then my other daughter, Hannah who is 8 is a weird adorable child who has the best imagination, I’ve ever seen before. She’s lovable and she has the most creative stories ever. I love everything about them, that make them unique.