Minion Monday – Why fit in when you are such a stand out?
With school starting and the fun that come along with it, I have spent too much time thinking about, bullies and the things we all do just to fit in.
I have seen kids, drink, smoke, do drugs, abuse, even have sex.
All in the name of fitting in.
I did some of things I wish I hadn’t. I even picked on someone simply because others did. I didn’t even know why.
I have also been that kid who hid between classes, smoked and rushed out after school to avoid bullies.
I am not proud of either.
While it is pretty darn important to talk to all your kids about bullying To help them to understand doing things they feel are wrong in the name of fitting in is not okay.
It is equally important to talk to your kids about standing out.
Teach your kids, all of them NT* and Spectrum, to ACCEPT everyone. Short, tall, fat, thin, young, old, every color, every nationality, no matter their ability. If you are the parent of a special needs child you are already aware how very important it is for our kids who can’t always do things for themselves to have friends. Many of our kids will never have a true friend. They won’t know what it is like to have a sleep over, or talk on the phone for hours. Autism takes this from them, so don’t let it.
As a parent of a child with autism, I am constantly spreading awareness, usually very very loudly in a store. I think we are there with the awareness thing.
Now we need to change things up a bit.
Instead of saying “Hey look my kid has Autism he isn’t just a spoiled brat!” Let’s take it to the next step. How about if we say “He is stressed because stores have so many, lights, sounds, smells and things it is sensory overload!”
We need to say this is why, not just label it part of autism and write off.
If people don’t understand they will never accept them.
Allow them to be themselves too, let those little quirks be okay! Accept the fact they they like something odd, or geeky!
Even if you don’t understand it.
Let them dress like they want to dress, when you can.
Show them it is okay to be who they are!
In fact show them that who they are is WONDERFUL.
As parents you are their first friend, the first person they love, their first teacher and most of all you are their safe place. It isn’t your job to teach them the world is a cold, hard place. The world teaches them that way too soon.
This said, there are a million things you should teach them.
To start with, teach them everyone has something to give.
Everyone has a place.
Each person has a right to be loved and happy.
Even the jerks.
Even the bullies.
Even the kids who can’t talk.
The lady in front of you in line.
The homeless guy on the corner.
Teach them to say different is okay.
That the kid who wears black every day is not a horrible person just someone who likes black!
Maybe that one who always has their nose in a book, has amazing things to share and is just shy.
How about that athlete, they know so many things about sports, strategy, or they are wonderful at dance or music, you don’t know until you talk to them!
Maybe the kid who is always looking down is an awesome artist.
The one who sleeps in class just needs someone to talk to.
How about the kid who has autism and has trouble making a friend, but who will be the most kind, loving friend you will ever have.
Teach them to be that person.
If they see some one with no one to sit with at lunch. Sit with them, or ask them to sit with you.
The kid without lunch, share yours. Just make sure tell you so you can send a little extra.
If you see someone sad, smile at them.
A simple smile does amazing things.
If you see someone crying say it will be okay, maybe hold their hand. Often something that simple is enough to save someones life.
The are tons of ways to do this.
You can show them videos and stories of things that restore your faith in humanity.
There is something AMAZING about each person. All you have to do is find it, however you will never find it if you bully it out of them.
*NT- is Nero-Typical, meaning a person who falls outside of the autism spectrum.