Celebrate your tween’s uniqueness
Dr. Seuss, that champion of children and parents alike, taught us many lessons. “A person’s a person,” he tells us, “no matter how small. Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” (www.whatwillmatter.com).
To look at the world with fresh, open minds, we need to see through the eyes of a child. Children see things without the adult’s worry of past and future outcomes. They are simply honest. How do we release that “child within?” We examine our relationship to that little girl or boy within us, and we give permission to be nurtured and accepted. Then you can “be who you are and say what you want, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind”(Dr. Seuss).
Robert Myers, Ph.D. writes in the Child Development website that if you can celebrate your child’s uniqueness “like a snowflake or a fingerprint, every child is unique in their own special way.” Dr. Myers points out that differences in ways of feeling and thinking and interacting will characterize your child. Allow tweens to follow their interests and find outlets. Encourage them to make good choices, and allow tweens to have preferences that are different from yours.
Dove has a website that is about individuality and uniqueness for teen girls (www.selfesteem.dove.com). They suggest you encourage her to celebrate her individuality, emphasize education, and help her follow her dreams. Boost her self-esteem by stressing the importance of developing her own unique qualities and gifts. Dove says “no one should hide their uniqueness…If your daughter doesn’t fit the cookie-cutter ideal of what’s considered ‘cool,’ she may feel left out …she’s lacking self-confidence.” This same philosophy applies to teenage boys or tweens. The most important points to remember are:
- Reassure tween of importance of individuality; it’s OK to be different.
- No one should hide their uniqueness.
- The more your child accepts and celebrates his/her uniqueness, the more their self-esteem will improve.
The L.A. Times has articles about tweens and fashion and how that helps them develop their individuality (www.articles.latimes.com/2002). In the last decade, it tells us, it seems as though the stores have created sections for tweens, ages 8 to 12. They feature items sprinkled with glitter, for example, to help the tweens, like teens, express their “budding individuality and don’t want to be seen as little kids.”
As in all parental advice, you will be ahead of the game if you keep encouraging your child to celebrate their uniqueness. As Dr. Seuss tells us, “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting.” Keep reminding your tweens that they are the only You like them; their uniqueness defines them and gives them strength!