Monday, September 29, 2014

#Microblog Mondays - Of Friends and Fitting in

A few weeks back as the twins were recovering from viral fever, they sat down to craft gifts for their teachers. H came up with this tippy-tippy-top flower for his teacher. He spent some time painstakingly making and colouring it, no mean achievement given that he's not such a pro at either.

He put it away safely in his cupboard waiting to get well so he could take it to school. Then  his friend dropped by. He looked at the 'flower', examined it and asked, 'What is this?' I was waiting for H to proudly declare 'I made this for my teacher'. To my complete surprise he replied, 'Oh this? It's just something my sister made. I don't know why she left it in my cupboard.'

If only he understood what his
favourite author sai
d!
He was embarrassed to admit he'd made it!! 
I cannot tell how saddened I am. 

Long long back when he was a toddler he asked me for a kitchen set. He loves to cook. He used to take it down to play. Then one day he told me, "I'll play with my kitchen set only at home." And then slowly he gave it up altogether. 

Of course that might have been a sign of changing interests, which would have been fine. But this, seems like pure peer pressure. My son is growing up and trying to 'fit in' and I'm scared. Not that he might not fit in, but that he might lose himself while trying to do so.

A big talk is in order! Any ideas how to go about it?


Linking to # Microblog Mondays hosted by Stirrup Queens.

22 comments:

  1. I struggle with this all the time. My personal view is to be direct - in your case, I would say "I overheard you talking to your friend. Why did you say your sister made the flower? You should be proud of your work and anyone who makes fun of you for your interests isn't really your friend. You can like all kinds of different things." But, I don't know very much about fitting in - it's not my specialty. :) I guess if he wanted to opt out of girly things but still claim credit for his work, he could explain to his friend that he was making something that the teacher was likely to find pleasing. That would be closer to fitting in, I think. Good luck with your talk - I wish gender roles weren't such a big deal and the people could like what they like without ridicule.

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    1. Good idea. Wish he was strong enough to simply admit to what he really liked!

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  2. Oh I don't know what would be the best way to approach this with him...But I know it can be scary for a parent..But don't worry he will be fine...Peer pressure is something that is quite tricky..Maybe you can share how you dealt with it..It will be helpful..I have always told my sister not to care what people or friends say...I told her I never did...Maybe it helped her..But not sure if this will help you...

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    1. Hmmm showing him is way better than telling him. You're right Naba.

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  3. I think you should tell him that you are proud of him for making in, Tulika. At the same time, get him to acknowledge his fears. Find a way to compromise his need for friendship and being himself too. You can tell him that while it is alright to fit in with everyone, it is alright to be different from the rest of the group in certain ways. All the rest are too.

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    1. Michelle what I feel matters much less to him now than what his friends feel about him. That's the problem.

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  4. I'll give you the advice that my daughter gave another kid last night: do what makes you happy and never say you're sorry for making yourself happy. She was telling another kid not to apologize for his choice in Halloween costume; just to enjoy every second of being in his costume. It was good advice. I mean, easier said than done. But no one needs to apologize for doing the things that make them happy and harm no one else in the process.

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    1. You're right, of course. But often this understanding comes from the perspective of age. Your daughter sounds very mature.

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  5. I don't like stereotyping where it is assumed that boys must love cars and girls must play with dolls. How sad. Please tell your son it is absolutely okay to enjoy what he likes. His fear is probably what others/peers will think - and being teased/bullied. My son loved to play with cooking sets and dolls In fact, he wanted a Barbie when he was 8 and a friend of ours kindly passed one one of her daughter's.

    We live in a world where it is considered smart for women to wear trousers but if men wore sarees, they have to face so much criticism. :)

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    1. That's the unfortunate part Vidya. Glad Vidur could be himself. Speaks a lot about you too. I wish H would realise it too.

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  6. There's always this is for boys and this is girlish syndrome all over. As Vidya said, ensure your son that it's ok to do what he like and nothing is gender biased here. maybe in course of time he will understand it himself.

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  7. I'm hoping he will. Sometimes it takes entire lifetimes to figure this out :-).

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  8. I exactly know how it feels, being a mom of a pre-teen. Well, I would say build his confidence Tulika. That's all you need to do. To begin with, you need to tell him how proud you are of him; how amazing a child he is, etc, as often as you possibly can. Just make him feel good about himslef all the time and ensure he believes that you are, indeed, truly proud of him. That's when he will start believing in himself. Once self-belief sets in he'll need no crutches to stand on, he'll only soar higher Cheer up!

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    1. That sounds like sane advice Nisha. One that will work in the long term. Thanks a ton.

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  9. I haven't truly had to go through it yet with my boy, but I do dread the time in the future. He loves stickers, drawing, crafting and baking with me, I hope he will continue to do so. I love the advice you have gotten so far and I hope some of it works!

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    1. So do I, Heather. They really shouldn't be ashamed of things they enjoy doing.

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  10. I feel your pain, Tulika. How do you veer kids away from 'fitting in' or trying to please people? The 3 year old is already displaying these tendencies and trying to do the 'right' thing. This is my current challenge and I'm trying to ask him what he thinks about it rather than doing what he thinks he ought to. Any tips?

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    1. Monica I think you're in the right path already. Encourage him to tell you what he wants and truly likes and then take it from there. Kids are so complicated these days.

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  11. PS: The tippy tippy top flower looks so cool! Very creative! I wonder where they get it from. ;)

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  12. I am still waiting for this stage to come up with S, especially because he's a super-sensitive kid who finds it tough to stand up to rough-housing or bullying kids. I can see you have a lot of advice already, so I am just going to say All the best and I know you'll figure it out :).

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  13. Oh bullying is a whole different story and a tough one to handle. This is a voluntary change in behaviour. Don't know which is worse.

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