Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Fitting In

A friend of mine and I were talking the other day about how badly we want our kids to fit in when they go to school. We are both in a constant state of worry that our children will be made fun of, picked on, teased. I worry because Jack's ears will stick out, he will be too smart and mouthy for his own good, and (this is the worst of my fears) he's so cute now I'm worried his looks have already peaked and he'll get uglier as he gets older. (I can't believe I just admitted that in public.)

That being said, I also don't want him to be so popular that he's not forced to develop a personality. Or that he's mean to other kids. I was mean to Brian Starfield in grade school – I was so mad that I ALWAYS had to sit next to him because our last names were the same, and he was always growing warts and showing them to me.

I know some of my faithful readers out there look back upon their childhoods with dread. The constant harassment, the rock throwing, the taunts from evil kids. So I wonder. Could your parents have even done anything to make you less of a target? If so, what?

How much of your personality is just there and how much is influenced by your parents? This thought perplexes me daily. If you're shy, for example, are you just shy? Or did your parents make you that way by parenting you in a specific way?

Enough of my obsessing. I went knitting last night with some lovely ladies down at Changing Hands. Here are a few pictures:

knitters 3

knitters 2

kim 2

In that last one Kim is trying to figure out the cord for another Knitkit bag. I swear that pattern is written in code. I've made it once and helped my mom with it once and I still don't get it. There has to be an easier way to make handles.

I was looking around for good summer knits and I found this Ribby Shell, brought to you by the same person who designed Ribby Cardi. I'm going to make it out of Knitpicks Shine, so the entire thing will cost $16. I can't wait!


Blogger PJS said...

Well, not to nitpick, but my parents could have given me at least HALF a chance by not naming me "Parley", for God's sake.

I could have been a Chad, or a Mike, or a Scott... I could have been... a contender!!!

8:25 AM  
Blogger Jack said...

I guess my question is what could they have done differently with regards to your upbringing? There were kids with icky names who no one picked on - a girl named Sean, a boy named Shannon - and then some kids with normal names were teased unmercifully. Brian and Roy being the two at my school who got the worst of it.

So I guess my point is we all have characteristics we would like to be different - name, ears, hair, etc. But some kids are able to overcome these and some aren't. Why is that?

8:36 AM  
Blogger PJS said...

Well, my parents placed such a premium on teaching me to be nice to other people, and well-mannered, that I basically spent the first 17 years of my life accepting any kind of treatment from people that they felt like dishing out. I was a total doormat, because I was terrified of not being "nice".

Maybe if they would have tried to teach me more about self-respect? But I truly do believe that a lot of personality is inherent, and there's only so much a parent can do to affect this. I do remember feeling like my parents never really "stood up for me", so maybe I took from this that I wasn't worth standing up for. Other peoples' crazy moms were always running off and yelling at teachers and demanding things from the schools. I was horrified at their behavior, but secretly a little jealous.

Some would argue I overcompensate now, in my cantankerous dotage.

8:51 AM  
Blogger The Humanity Critic said...

Just passing through. Im digging the blog by the way.

9:09 AM  
Blogger potusol said...

Speaking as a kid who was picked on mercilessly by my peers I'm not really sure my parents could have done anything to make it better. Looking back I sort of wished they had pushed me harder to be more athletic but since I wasn't really interested in any of that there wasn't a whole lot they could do, except maybe force me to participate.

A lot of the conflict and trouble I had as a kid was because of things I chose to do. My parents tried to guide me to make less "problematic" choices but I pretty much did what I wanted anyway. I had some pretty rough times because of my choices but ultimately I think it all worked out okay. It could have been a lot worse.

10:19 AM  
Blogger SquareSlant said...

I truly think it was my siblings that "formed" my personality. Either wanting to be different from, defending my territory, or copying something that I liked.

5:05 AM  
Anonymous Paula said...

You can do stuff like not giving him goofy clothes or name that will make him more likely to be picked on, but I'm not sure you can prevent it. There may be some extreme situations where you have to step in, but I'm not sure preventing all childhood cruelty is good either - otherwise you end up with a hothouse flower who expects Mommy to shield him from all trouble for his whole life. You want your kid to be happy and have friends, but (I hate to spring this on a doting mother) he will have bad things happen to him at some point in his life, and he's likely to be better at overcoming them if he's gotten to practice on small problems as a child. Maybe al you can do is tyr to shield him from big problems before he's ready.


12:39 PM  

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