4 things to teach your child about being an individual

We want out children to grow up feeling confident in their abilities and their uniqueness. 

As mothers we tend to spend a lot of our time comparing ourselves to other mothers (or fathers). We talk about all the things they are doing and regularly come to the conclusion that they are somehow better. In a sense we all seem to aim to conform to some sort of standard. Often it is something we do unknowingly. Human nature makes it very difficult for us not to compare ourselves to others. 
So how do we teach our children to celebrate their individuality? How do we show them that it is OK to be different to their friends? That it is OK that it took a bit longer for them to grasp a particular concept at school? We want out children to grow up feeling confident in their abilities and their uniqueness. 
Perhaps the first thing we can do is change the way we see ourselves. After all, they really do learn so much from us parents. 
  • Our Flaws Make Us Unique. This is something both we and our children could benefit from realizing. Whether it is a face full of freckles or a tendency to experience anxiety, the little quirks in our appearance and personality are what make us unique.
  • We All Learn At Different Paces. Wouldn't it be easier if we all grasped concepts and skills as quickly as the next person? The reality is that we all have different abilities and skills. We all bring something to the table. One person in your child's class at school might pick up mathematics really quickly while your own child may excel at arts and crafts. It's important to focus on the areas where their confidence soars and subtly work on the areas that they struggle in. The same can be said for motherhood. There will always be another mother who cooks, cleans or sews better than you. Variety is the spice of life and we all excel in different ways. 
  • People Like What You Like. Perhaps your child wants to play with toys that are typically associated with the other gender. This is something we as parents can celebrate and encourage. The word play suggests fun and happy times. This is something which represents all the good things in life for our child. In teenage years this topic may extend to sexuality. It is important to be considerate of the language we use in these respects. Our own adult impressions and opinions generally rub off and shape those of our children. 
  • What Would You Like For Dinner?  This is a question not often posed to our children. Perhaps we come from a “you'll eat what you are given” generation but children (and adults) love to be given choice and options when it comes to food. It could be something as simple as asking the child to pick one of the week's dinners before you do the shopping. The sense of independence and importance it will give your child is incredible. As adults we too like to have a choice. Some days we simply are not in the mood for a certain dish. We like to have what we fancy. 
Showing Your Emotions Is A Good Thing.  Being a child can be an incredibly frustrating experience. A lot of the time our children simply cannot articulate what it is that they want or are unhappy about. Encouraging our children to speak about their emotions will help them grow a sense of self-confidence. Hearing Mammy and Daddy confidently talking about their emotions is also a good thing. It sets the tone of it being perfectly normal to have a bad day or feel a little sad sometimes. 
Written by Tracey, mummy blogger and staff writer with www.familyfriendlyhq.ie
Check out her own blog at love-of-living.blogspot.ie

Tracey Quinn

Proud mum of two who got married on Don't Tell The Bride and had an accidental home-birth (loves a good story). She's passionate about breastfeeding, positive thinking & all things cosy.

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