As parents, we make such a big deal about our kids marching to their own beat. We want them to be individuals and we embrace what makes them each different and special– I think it’s one of the most important parts of our job. It’s beyond adorable when Evan trudges around in rain boots every day because he loves them so I never force him to wear anything else (plus they are the only shoes I don’t need to assist with, but that’s not the point.) If Lily wants to wear mismatched outfits on the weekends, so be it and if it really makes Ben happy to consistently wear his shirts backwards, who am I to judge?
But, sometimes, being the “unique” one can be overrated. My parents never bought me jeans until I was in high school. While every other kid was wearing Guess acid-washed jeans, I was forced to wear corduroy and khakis. They thought jeans looked trashy, I guess, and preferred me to look classically adorable. Which I did, (obviously!) but I also stuck out like a sore thumb. Looking back, it would have been nice to have blended a little more in school photos. And it certainly would have helped my self-esteem.
Then there’s the kid who insists on wearing pajamas to school or the one who refuses to have his hair cut. The child who still plays with Little People when all of his friends have long graduated onto superheros and the one who likes to eat with a napkin tucked into his shirt. There are a million different kids and a million different quirks, and that’s good… right?
But, it’s also a good thing to fit in. To be accepted. Not to be made fun of. When does endearing and quirky become odd or inappropriate? Is it our job as parents to help them blend and fit in, or do we embrace their weirdness?
I’m not sure of the answer yet, but I do know that my kids weirdness is adorable. At least for now it is, and at least to me.