Do you bring them up to fit in or do you bring them up to be free?
I don’t fit in and I never have and it was hell if I am honest while I was growing up. You see childhood is tribal and if you don’t belong somewhere, if you don’t fit in then you are picked on and life can really be a living hell.
If you are a strong enough individual it doesn’t matter as you will attract a group to you and create a new tribe but if you are weak, shy, not as clued up then life outside a tribe can be very lonely.
When I hear people say oh yes they bring their children up to be individuals I inwardly groan. Don’t you know what you are potentially exposing your children to? Are you really that dumb? What may be cute in a five year old at the start of Reception ain’t going to go down well by the time you get to Year 4 (Year 2 for girls).
It may be marvellous that your kid can recite the Iliad, whoopee-do but as far as joining in and getting on with the others in the class all that will do is set them apart and unless they are really super cool that isn’t going to be an advantage.
The same can be said of kooky clothes, hair dos, not watching TV shows and films etc unless that is they are also exceedingly good at team sports.
I know we should all be strong enough to be individuals, and that we should express ourselves in any way we want but is that what parents should be really doing? Making the lives of their children a living hell just because they can’t be bothered to look at it from a child’s point of view?
We all need to belong. It makes us feel good. In a group we can conquer anything and it doesn’t matter that other groups are different as long as we are together we are strong. At the beginning of a child’s school career this is what matters we can be individuals later. I am not saying one should be slavish to society I am saying that parents should prepare their kids to fit in, to join in and not be too kooky, maybe it’s a plea .
My Boy has epilepsy it makes him different and I know he longs to be the same. I feel for him because I was different and I never realised, as no one ever told me or taught me, that I could have joined in and been part of a tribe until it was right for me to be me.
I try to help my boy by keeping an eye on fashion, not slavishly, keeping an eye on the games his peers are playing the toys they are getting and using my common sense. I still want him to be individual but I also want him to be accepted and if I have to go tribal I will. It is my duty as a parent.