Loving My Square Peg
All kids are difficult and different in their own way, but some kids are truly unique. One of my kids is a square peg. He doesn't dress differently or look different. But his mind and the way he interacts with the world is not the same as other kids.
It's hard to watch a square peg trying to shave off their corners and fit themselves into round holes. It's frustrating watching a kid negotiate the world without understanding the rules that other kids seem to innately get.
If it was just he and I at home, it wouldn't be so hard. But as this writer so eloquently puts it:
For me, the toughest part is the interface between my kids and society. Sometimes I remind myself of a nervous dinner party hostess, trying to get my kids into a conversation with the world, hoping the two hit it off.
Parenting an eccentric kid is a constant push-pull. How do you celebrate uniqueness while also teaching the importance of following the rules? How do you teach him that first impressions are important? While at the same time, showing other adults that if they let their expectations go of what they think a child is like, they will be rewarded by talking to a kid who seems different.
The truth is square pegs never fall far from the square tree, so I think (hope?) most parents of quirky kids can understand what it is like to feel a little on the outside.
I have to admit for as many questions and concerns I have about my orchid child, I am also so proud of his achievements. Life is a little harder for him, but he succeeds. As he gets older, the other kids get a little quirkier too and it becomes easier to fit in. A quirky kid is never going to be a kid that flies under the radar, but you certainly are never going to forget him either.
My son has taught me a lot about tolerance -- now when I see a kid who seems a little different, who is hanging on the margin -- they are the ones I am interested in. Because of him, I have learned to trust my instincts and not to let others who think they know better tell me what is best for him.
Do you have a child who is different? What do you find the most difficult thing about it?
Want more chaos? Last year, I wrote about a list of things that I would really like to say to my kids' teachers. I think I might email it, instead.