I am a people watcher. Not in your normal way, but in a way where I am genuinely curious about them. Are they doing something in their life that is working? Are they doing something in their life that isn’t working? Then I take that information and I try to emulate what is working and do my best to avoid what isn’t working.
One of the things that I have noticed in my stalking, I mean watching, is moms talking about how weird their kid is and how much time they spend worrying about them, only to have them turn out to be pretty amazing adults. They worry about their kid's hairstyle, clothes, hobbies, or any number of other things. Just to clarify, I’m not talking about major things like drinking, drugs, or sex. I’m talking about things that don’t really matter in the long run, like clothing and hairstyles.
I am failing in this area. I think one of my kids is weird and I spend too much time worrying about it. Parenting can be interesting. You are given stewardship over your kids, and some of them you connect with much easier than others. Some of your kids you can see past their shortcomings and know that it will all be alright. Other kids, you are stuck with your negative thoughts.
Unsurprisingly, I was an odd child who did weird things. I wrote plays and made the neighbors audition for them; I made my little sister perform musicals in our backyard (she admitted to me recently that she did NOT like doing this); I talked to my stuffed animals as if they were real; I wore weird things and I hated to shower. I was weird.
However, being weird is what made me the person I am today, and I really like me. I like that I think differently; it helps me to teach more creatively. It has made me question things that others just go along with. It has helped me to try new things that others might be too afraid to try. So, why am I so terrified that one of my kids might be weird? Honestly, because I’m worried what other people think. I’m worried that it will reflect poorly on my parenting.
Wait a minute, so I’m not worried about long term problems? I’m worried about how this reflects on me? Isn’t it ironic that when we think our kid is different or odd, that we don’t think about how well this might serve them, we think how does this make me look? And if we’re worried about how we look are we really parenting out of love, or fear?
The funny thing about this blog post is that I started to write it a while ago and then I felt nervous to publish it. In the meantime my “weird” kid did some absolutely amazing things. Things that I would have never had the courage to do. It helped me to realize that he isn’t weird, it’s just my thoughts. Now, you might say, "well other people agree that my kid is odd/weird", or whatever adjective you would like to use, but I guarantee if you looked hard enough you will be able to find other people that think your kid is absolutely wonderful.
Next time you are having negative thoughts about your kid take out a piece of paper and write down all the wonderful things about them. Chances are you are looking past some pretty great things and focusing only on a few of your kid’s weaknesses.
I know that sounds too simple, but most likely your kid isn’t the problem, just your thoughts are.