One of the commonest questions I encounter as a parenting consultant is “Why is my child different from other children?”
Do you ask that question?
Do you find yourself feeling abnormal or inferior when your child does not do things other children do?
Do you get worried when your child does not behave the way other children do?
Then you are not alone.
It is almost every parent’s desire to have a child who will be “normal” who will do “behave normally” and who will not be embarrassingly different from other children.
But is being the same as other children really good for your child?
Not at all.
When your child grows up it is the difference that will make your child unique. It is the difference that will make her/him valuable.
Detailed article continue below the video
3 Reasons you must celebrate your child’s differences
It will protect your child from bullies
Bullies target children who are different. If you convince your child that your child that her/his different behaviour or inability to do certain things is something to be embarrassed about – the bullies taunts and hurtful comments will find a deep resonance in your child’s mind.
What you should do – Take pride in your child’s differences. When your child gets bullied then – the hurtful comments will not find fertile ground and will not be able to grow into something that intimidates your child into succumbing to bullying.
It will build your child’s self-esteem
The easiest way to damage your child’s self-esteem is to be disappointed in your child. Even if you don’t communicate your disappointment to your child in so many words – your child senses it in your body language.
What you should do – Tell your child that you love her/him every day and all the time. Understand that your child is acutely aware of her/his inability to do something that others are doing. Keep the channels of communication open with your child. Let your child know that the challenge she/he faces can be overcome. Stay on your child’s team – formulate a strategy to help your child overcome the challenge with your help. Just signing your child up for a class or buying her/him relevant books will never help in a challenge area. Your child does not need a disapproving spectator. Your child needs your active participation.
It will encourage your child to build her/his talent
Every difference makes your child unique. A child who is quiet may excel at something like playing a musical instrument that requires quiet focus. Forcing such a child into dancing on stage will convince her/him that the stage is a scary place and that may keep her/him from building the skill required to perform the piano on stage as well.
What you should do – Keep your eyes open and recognize your child’s talents. Encourage your child to excel in what she/he is good at. Do not let embarrassment and shame set in by forcing your child into something she/he is not good at.
Think twice before you try to change your child.