Embrace Your Child’s Individuality

Embrace Your Child’s IndividualityAs a parent, you have the amazing opportunity to share life lessons with your child constantly.  One of the values that many parents encourage their children to learn is that the things that make each of us different make the world more interesting.  Put another way, if everyone were the same, life would be pretty boring.

Differences will pop up repeatedly in your child’s life but the early stages of teaching this important life lesson is to embrace your child’s individuality.  That means showing them that it’s not just OK to be different, it is wonderful to be different.

Differences come in all shapes and sizes, of course.  Some kids are born with physical differences, which they may not even notice or see as limitations until later in life, but other kids or adults may be quick to point them out.  Some differences are preferences, personality traits or means of expression.  As a parent, when you embrace your child’s individuality, you are helping them build self-esteem, become a confident unique person and you let them know they are loved for exactly who they are.  Here are some ways you can put this into practice every day:

Encourage Your Child and Accept Your Child’s Ways

Children need lots of praise to build their confidence and make them feel loved.  Life can be tough, as your kids will learn soon enough.  Let your time with them be a safe space of happiness and praise, and free from judgment.  When he’s old enough, consult with your child on choices about his own life including what he wants to wear, activities he wants to do, people he wants to play with and books he wants to read.  Allowing children space for choices can help them feel less restricted by the boundaries of life and give them the creative freedom to explore many interests in their own way.  It’s ok to correct misbehavior, but when your child is expressing his individuality, try to embrace it without trying to change it.  This may mean your child will come up with some crazy ideas that challenge your own.  But this variety of life and parenting may be one of the most rewarding as well.

Diversify Your Family’s Experiences

Expose your child to many experiences, even from a young age.  Experts say the more we talk to babies, the better they will be able to develop language skills.  The same concept can be applied to other life lessons.  The more new ideas we introduce into our child’s life, the more he will appreciate many different aspects of the world.  This includes activities such as music, athletics, arts and academics, as well as cultural, sensory and volunteering experiences.

Incorporate your children in your interests.  If you like to cook and your partner likes to play sports, share your passions and let your child be involved in both.  Plus, let your child pick their own interests, even if they defy your family’s talents or social norms.  Also, share your child’s hobbies with their friends, and encourage your children to explore their friend’s interests too.  Even if your son does not want to take ballet, he can attend a friend’s ballet recital to see what it is all about.

Dream Big with Your Child

Starting in toddlerhood, children develop wild and fascinating imaginations.  This is one of the best ways to embrace your child’s individuality because it’s a peek into his creative brain.  Let your child weave stories, do elaborate art projects and design games.  You should participate in them fully.  Showing your child you are part of his biggest wishes and dreams can make the difference between acceptance and defeat.  The bond begins now and he’ll realize you’ll always be his biggest champion.  Some of the world’s most successful ideas came from dreaming big.  Right now it may be about monsters and dragons, but tomorrow those dreams could be an incredible invention or social movement.  Childhood is the time for dreaming so let your child’s imagination run wild – and try to keep up as best as you can.

 

When you embrace your child’s individuality, its yet another way you are nurturing your child to become the best person he can be.  Be sure to read books about characters who are different and talk about how much happier they were for being themselves.  This life lesson will be one your children will carry with them as their lives take shape throughout the years.