Guest Author - Lisa Polovin Pinkus
Peculiar. Different. Unpredictable. Non-Conventional. These are words you might use to describe the quirky child. Parents of these children often waver between pride for their child’s individuality and uniqueness and anguish over the struggles that lie ahead for their child.
Evolution of knowledge, diagnosis, and technology advancements help us to label our children, and many of our quirky children do have a diagnosis. When we have a definition for our child, we can become better equipped to help them live a “normal” life. But many of our quirky children do not receive a diagnosis. They do not “need” a diagnosis. They are just quirky. Out of the ordinary. We still need to help them learn to navigate life.
Pause for a moment and consider the adults you know, including yourself. You will, most likely, be able to identify some unique habits or phobias that come along with each of them. I know that every time I share my inability to watch others brush their teeth, people open up about their own idiosyncrasies.
One of the first questions a mom needs to ask herself is “who is being made unhappy or uncomfortable?” Often times, we may discover that the unique behaviors of our children are the very things that push us over the edge. Those same behaviors may comfort our children and may even define who they are.
Are you able to reframe the quirky behavior? Instead of quirky, strange or weird – can you view your child as creative, bright, and insightful? Once underlying issues have been ruled out, it’s time to help your child celebrate and honor his or her unique personality.
There exists a very fine line between wanting your child to fit in and letting him be himself. It is important to acknowledge your own frustration with this task and to seek support. The charge is to help your child embrace her journey, to succeed, and to be happy.
Step into the world of your child and view it from his uncommon perspective. Identify habits that will help your child. Establishing consistent routines and rhythms so your child knows what to expect. Help your child feel proud about being a non-conformist and help her highlight her strengths.
Spending time on the development of social skills will help your child feel more at ease in these potentially difficult situations. Keep in mind your goal. Rather than trying to change what’s “wrong” with your child, broaden your view to know and understand your child.
Many of our children will “come into their own” as the years go by. We will stand proud at the person they have become. We will realize that their quirks are important part of their being and that we wouldn’t change them if we could. We will even start to accept, appreciate, and honor the quirks we notice in our friends, our spouses, and our selves.