Why I Hope Your Kids Don't Grow Up To Be Normal
Posted on 15 October 2015
Growing up, "fitting in" is one of the most prominent things on our minds. We want to make friends, we want to belong, we want to know that one day we'll get that white picket fence and 2.3 kids. What we don't know at eight, 12, or even 15 however, is that we can have all those things without having to fit into some stereotypical opinion of what's normal. We don't have to change who we are to have the future we want.
I was always a little weird. I read more than your average preteen (Goosebumps specifically), my only two friends and I pretended to be ghost hunters at recess instead of playing soccer, I liked listening to Blink 182 instead of N'Sync. At some point however, this wasn't enough. I fought with myself for years - trying to make new friends, fit in with people that deep down I knew I would never fit in with. I spent a lot of time hating who I was and I was angry with the world because of it.
It took me years to find myself and where I belonged, but eventually it happened. I went to college, got married, and had babies. I even have a house with a white picket fence, can you believe it? I didn't end up with all these things in my life because I became "normal" though. I'm tattooed and pierced, my hair changes colour with the seasons (or more often), my husband looks like a member of Sons of Anarchy, and my kids prefer clothes with skulls to those with Disney characters. We have our own little tribe, and I wouldn't have it any other way. And those two best friends I used to ghost hunt with? They're still my best friends, 20 years later.
We should always encourage our children to be weird and wonderful. To trust their gut, to embrace what they feel and what they are as children, because often, before the doubt kicks in, before their self-confidence starts to disappear, that's when they are their truest selves. And based on my experience, being who you are, despite what anyone else has to say about it, is the best way to be happy and to realize the future you want for yourself.
As a parent, the best feeling is watching your confident, WEIRD child grow up happy. If more parents encouraged their children in this way, the world would be a better place. Keep it weird.