When your teenager is proud of his ability to be different…
“Mom, I was talking with some kids at the school the other day about how abnormal I am.”
Abnormal? The kids at school are talking about how abnormal you are?
In a high school setting, how damaging could this be, to be considered and talked about as abnormal?
He is a high spirited overly energetic kid who loves to stand out and be noticed. He is loud, obnoxious on purpose, and more fun than any other “normal” teenager would admit to. Weird is his normal. Yet, I wondered where this was going.
What kind of ‘abnormal’ are we talking about?
“You know mom, I’m not like the normal teenager. I don’t have anxiety. I’m not depressed. I’m not confused about who I am. I’m not medicated and I’m happy.”
Because I always want to turn every conversation with my kids into a learning experience, I ask, “And how did you get that way?”
“Because you raised me!” (Big wink and cheesy grin)
We laugh and I agree, then add to it.
There’s more to his abnormal predicament than he has an awesome mom. It’s the principles we have taught our kids that make him stand out as ‘abnormal’. We use The FRAME Formula all the time to establish a feeling in our relationships that encourages open communication like this. He knows who he is and doesn’t question that he belongs here. Yup, that’s pretty abnormal. Another way to think of this is, special, in the world but not of the world, unique, and peculiar.
We have always tried to teach our kids how important they are as an individual contributing to the whole. One of my favorite sayings is we are here on purpose, for a purpose. We are in this family for a reason. And when asked the question, “Where are we going?” we almost always say, “Can’t be crazy because we’re already there!”
Sometimes his energy drives me crazy, but we have turned that into a positive idea. If everyone is a weird-o then no one really is all that weird. A crazy day is a fun day.
If your kids are standing out as being abnormal, cheer them on for it. Praise them for their uniqueness and especially for their ability to choose for themselves on who they are instead of being driven by the peer pressure of the world. And make sure they know they might be abnormal, but they are not alone.
Here’s one easy way to help them out:
We can change the definition or perspective we have on what labels we use. This will change your world.
Abnormal = Exciting and fun. Confident.
Another word I see that is often viewed as negative, but I see as a positive is ‘stubborn’. I see a stubborn child, or person as steadfast and strong, decisive. They know what they want and who they are. These are qualities I wish I had more of.
One of the best things we can do for our kids, and our families, is to change the perspective of negative words and labels into positive ones. Not to remove the label, because there is usually truth in them and it is already into the subconscious mind when we hear them. It is easier to change the definition or perspective on labels than it is to remove them. It’s one way to make it a great day.
What other words do you see differently than how the world usually describes them?