Has your child got the funniest sense of humour? The most caring nature? The funkiest fashion sense or a distinguishing feature?
Don’t you love how every child has a personality that shines through from the earliest days, that makes them unique, special and oh so amazing!
In society, it is humbling to watch so many people nurture uniqueness, foster creativity and create tolerance. Accepting everyone for their differences creates an amazing and every-growing society!
But, behind this lovely bubble of the perfect world, there is still too much intolerance. People are bullied for their differences and people are taught not to love themselves for who they are.
Unfortunately, this intolerance, this self-hate and this allowance of society to dictate the perfect look and life means that many people guard their children, telling them to conform to social norms, rather than thrive how they are.
Many don’t mean to impact their children, they think they are preparing them for the world.
But instead of ‘preparing’ why not change the world. Challenge social norms and remove social stigmas. Help your child be resilient and stand up for their beliefs, for the person they want to be at every stage of their precious life.
The next time you tell your little boy not to wear his favourite pink boots in fear he will be teased, or your little girl she can’t have the truck-themed party because you think the other mums will judge, think about the consequences of your words. While they seem harmless right now, you are teaching them that there is something wrong with their preferences. Something wrong with who they are.
What does it matter if your son loves pink? What does it matter if your girl loves to play with trucks? What does it matter if your daughter wants to rock the best mohawk in the second grade? Let them live in the moment, with the freedom to choose what colours they want to wear, the toys that spark their imagination and the hair that lets the express themselves proudly.
These things are harmless, so let them be that way. Don’t create social stigmas around them. Life can be hard enough without adding this nonsense.
Foster your child to be kind. To be compassionate. To be tolerant. To be brave.
Let’s create a society free of judgement, let kids be kids and let us all be us. And most importantly, let you be you!
Sheena’s ‘Words Matter’ blog series looks at the power of what we say to children and young adults. It’s about the messages you give children when you tell them to conform to your ideals, and the messages you give when you tear yourself or others down in front of them.
Sheena is that girl who always has a smile on her face, she loves life and the diversity within. After a lightbulb went off when she hit 30, Sheena’s ‘f*** it 30 approach to life allowed her to embrace who she is and help others to do the same, free of judgement.
Her communications business, Specialists in Communications, encourages everyone and every business to use their uniqueness as a point of difference, as a positive that helps them connect with people.
Sheena is also founder and editor of The Local Look, an e-magazine and blog showcasing Canberra business by telling the stories of the people behind the brands. Storytelling has the power to really connect with people and through it, we can encourage people and influence change for the better.