“We are all the same, in that we are all unique.” With that let me start my 21st blog on the #blogchatterA2Z challenge – U is for Unique. Each one of us is unique in our looks, appearance, habits, characteristics, nature and behavior. We are a combination of our personality, perspectives, attitudes, experience, knowledge and emotions. We have different talents, goals, hobbies, passions and tastes. The mix of all these becomes a person – each different from the other.
Despite that, as a society we prefer everyone to conform to the same norms, behavior and attitudes. Perhaps because it does not lead to confrontations. Or maybe just the fact that being part of a crowd gives one some sort of a security. There is too much risk in doing something different and then perhaps failing or getting negative comments from others. The worry around what will people say or do keeps people from being different. There is also the herd mentality that if the majority is doing something that may be right. This fixation to conform to the social norms also percolates into our parenting. Rather than recognizing our children for their individuality, we push them into conforming with our world view and stereotypes.
A simple and glaring example is the dominant hand – whether we use our right or left is an inborn trait. But a generation or two ago – children who used their left were forced to use their right just because the majority are right dominant. It was common to tie their left wrists with a handkerchief so that they would start using their right hand. So obsessed are we to become one of the crowd that we are willing to defy something given by nature. Stifling stereotypes like “boys don’t cry” or “girls are weaker” or defining who does what or what sexual preferences does one have are all results of the society’s need to conform.
My appeal to you as parents is to celebrate and encourage our children’s uniqueness. By understanding what makes your child tick and supporting him or her to explore to who they really are and find their talents, we help them reach their full potential. Give your children a safe atmosphere to explore, make mistakes, take risks an develop their confidence. Let’s look at some of the ways in which we can do that:
- Understand your child: the first step to nurturing individuality is to understand your children and let them understand themselves. Allow them to express themselves and follow closely what seems to interest them – it could be arts or sciences or a mix of both. Understand their nature – are they quiet and shy or outgoing. Do they like to speak in public or maybe they prefer writing. Do they give up easily or are they likely to persevere. Ask them what they feel or like about things, events and so on. Listen with acceptance, only then will they be open enough to share. Do not try to mold your child into the person you want him to be – rather let him become who he is.
- Encourage them to explore their talents and interests: once you begin to understand your child, encourage him to follow what he likes. These initials interests could easily become their passion or calling in life if encouraged. We noticed our son loves to read science and geography so we brought him more and more books on that and he seems to be thriving on those. Expose children to various opportunities, activities and sports to help them find out what they like. If they give up on some activity too early – try to find out why – ask them to give a minimum amount of time and then see what is stopping them. It may be real disinterest, or it could be something else. You can also expose older children to various professions for them to figure out what they like.
- Be their cheerleader: family is the first level of support for children. As your children strive to excel in any field, become their cheerleader. Attend their events – be it a dance recital or sports performance – attend it even you have to take some time off work. Praise their achievements in front of others. This will help them feel proud of their accomplishments and encourage them to strive even more towards their goals.
- Never compare: comparison comes so easily to us. We compare ourselves to others, our kids to others’ kids and we compare siblings and cousins and what not. “do you know how well your cousin did in the board exams last year? It is your turn this year – make sure you do at least as well as him.” “Your sister is so calm and easy going, why are you throwing tantrums all the time?” “your friend is so slim, why don’t you eat a little less and try to lose some weight?” All this comparing will only lead to reduced sense of self and a need to conform.
- Help them get comfortable in their skin: inevitably, there will be things your children are ashamed of about themselves. Especially, if this is something that is not considered cool or fashionable at school or maybe even ridiculed at. It could be physical appearances, the way they speak or how they think. Help your child accept their drawbacks. Work with them to improve upon them if possible – say attitudes or habits etc. But if it is a physical appearance or condition, help them learn to move despite that. Highlight their other qualities. Perhaps your child is the slowest runner in class but may be a lovely singer. Maybe your child is being teased about wearing spectacles or his stutter. Give them confidence and let them know these are part of their personality and they should not only accept themselves as they are but also to proudly tell the world to accept them as they are.
- Help them overcome peer pressure: as children grow, peer pressure becomes the single most important force that makes them conform. Children tend to stay in groups and there are clear ideas of what is hip and what is not. Who are the leaders, who are the followers and who are the losers. Bullying also emerges. Thus it is important for parents to develop a deep self confidence in our children and help them be proud of whatever person they are. Give them the ability to stand by their views and hold their opinions – irrespective of what the majority believes in. I wrote about this in my blog on courage of conviction as well.
Finally remember that your children are individuals and by letting them accept themselves as they are and encouraging them to go for what they want to do in life, we are helping set the backdrop for an individual who is content with his or her choices and willing to follow their passion.
Liked this blog? Do consider buying my book “Raising Capable Children” that shares hundreds of tips and ideas on bringing up confident children. See below for buying options.
India – Amazon: https://amzn.to/3j3QSrx ; Flipkart: https://www.flipkart.com/raising-capable-children/p/itm2134c13e7108f?pid=9789390267033
For US and UK- https://www.amazon.com/dp/939026703X ; https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/939026703X
Thanks so much for reading! Please comment, share and spread the word!
Regards, Sakshi aka tripleamommy
You can find me at:
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Read my other blogs on the series here:
C is for Courage of Conviction
R is for Remembering your Roots
Great post 😁
oh i remember that when i was young there were many parents who would compare their children to others, may it be studies or looks or anything. thats how many of them are all low on self esteem.
Every child is unique and we need to let them explore themselves and make their own identity!! I really loved the way you have covered this
I believe in the same concept. Every child is unique in their way. My both the kids have different areas of interest and I respect their choices. I agree with the pointers. Nice post!
While reading your book am yet to reach this chapter Sakshi but have to say this is such a brilliant post. Every child is unique and we have to celebrate that uniqueness.
I agree, Avery child is unique I often call them as butterflies. The way each butterfly is different yet beautiful and special, so are kids. They are special. God has gifted the with special traits that belong to them.
I completely agree with you dear as a parent it is our responsibility to avoid comparison. Each child is unique and we should try to celebrate their unique ness. Loved all your tips.
Parents often have difficulty in accepting the unique traits in their kids without realising that they set them apart. Good post about celebrating every child’s uniqueness.
This is so true, every child is unique and we need to give them the unconditional love and acceptance to allow them to reach their true potential. Great post!
True, every child has unique character strengths and abilities, it is our responsibilty to allow them to express their individuality. Because a lot of parents will do anything for their kids except let them be themselves.
To enhance creativity in kids we have to help them discover & apprecite their Uniqueness .. Every flower has its own fragnence , sooner or later world will discover it .
Every child is already unique in their own way. It is up to us as parents to help to identify and hone their unique qualities so they can thrive in life.
I agree.. Every child is unique and special. Comparing them with someone else will be doing injustice to them. As a parent it is our responsibility to encourage and support them in every possible way.
Absolutely right, every child is unique and we as a parent should never compare them and give a right kind of environment to nourish
Comparisons never help , infact it makes the communication more difficult. As a pare t we need to polish child uniqueness. Liked the thought of the article.
Truly said every child has individual personality and we should support their talent instead of comparing them with others
I have a little different take on the topic, every child is unique we can only help them in the process of finding their potentials and right way forward. Also, kids have very keep mind to learn and unlearn, I believe in letting them make their own choice.
I so believe in this. yes if tel kids to conform in bhedchaal then one cannot expect the kid to outshine like a leader. As leader is just one. Great tips for nurturing kid’s unique capabilities.
While we know as adults, that every child is unique, this is definitely something the child needs to embrace and most importantly be comfortable with. peer pressure is, i know, one of the most difficult things a child has to face, and the parents support goes a long way in handling this.
No two individuals are alike and kids especially they have their own uniqueness. Each should be briught up to retain and revl in it by being self confident. Isnt it?
I love the way you have approached this topic. Many a times parents end up comparing their kids with other children which not only is harmful for a child’s self esteem but could also dampen his / her free spirit and uniqueness
What a wonderful post and I absolutely loved reading this. Each kid is unique and have different capabilities, it is up to parents to refine those 🙂
Every child is unique in their own way and we need to let them explore themselves to make their own identity. I really loved the way you have covered all these.
These are encouraging tips for all parents. Recommendable!
Never compare!!! I can’t can’t can’t stress enough how important this is…Thank you so much for the amazing tips.
LOVE this. It is so important to teach children that they are special just the way they are.
Wow, I am really loving these series! Not a parent yet, but definitely helps prepare me to be one!
Thanks so much!
Great post! I love the alphabet approach. and yes uniqueness is important
Children need to be taken more seriously
These are excellent tips! It’s super important to teach our kids how to love every bit of their unique selves.
Every child is unique and it is so important to embrace and to celebrate our uniqueness. These are such awesome tips!
That’s right letting them express themselves is the best gift to give a child, it will show them to be more confident.
Those are all wonderful tips to keep in mind. As a mother myself I totally agree with those and every child is unique in their own way.