Helping kids celebrate their individuality
Storyberries offers free children's books and parenting suggestions for encouraging children to explore and embrace their uniqueness.
Being part of a family implies respect and tolerance of each other’s positions, and also a sense of solidarity. As individual beings, each person has their own thoughts and ideas that have been shaped by their social experiences and education. Of course there are times within families when ideological points and actions coincide, but there will also be differences.
Imagine the possibility of conveying these messages to your child:
“You and I live a relationship that I value and want to take care of. However, each of us is a different person, with their own unique needs and the right to satisfy them.”
“When you have trouble meeting your needs, I will try to listen to you with genuine acceptance, to make it easier for you to find your own solutions instead of depending on mine. In the same way, I will try to respect your right to choose your own beliefs and to develop your own values, even if they are different from mine.”
Each person has a unique and peculiar universe, with their own needs and potential. In other words, we are all different, with unique characteristics and idiosyncrasies which make us special. Therefore, it is essential that, from a very young age, we promote the development of individuality in our children, making them see that there is no other like them, and it is this quality that makes them incredible.
Recognizing and respecting the individuality of our children is one of our main tasks in their upbringing, since this implies giving value to their tastes and preferences, believing in their potential and talents, and trusting in their ability to develop as a person. If we insist that our child does something they do not want to do, the message they receive may be that we do not care about them, which can affect their self-esteem and self-image.
Despite good intentions, instead of helping with and directing this process, we can end up doing the opposite, creating difficulties for the child and future adult. Parents often make mistakes such as:
Solving kids tasks for them.
Demanding that a child keeps up with someone else in the family.
Giving insufficient praise and too much criticism.
Wanting to solve everything for them to avoid anyone suffering.
Storyberries provides free online children’s books, and parenting tips, offering lots of ways to value and celebrate individuality.
Offering choices where possibleLet them choose, be it the clothes they want to wear, the decoration of their personal belongings, the order of their room or the activities they want to do (as long as they are supervised appropriately and it is not dangerous for them).
Increase opportunities for creativity and ingenuity, allowing them to experience different, personal, and unique ways of doing things so they can develop their interests.
It’s okay to make mistakesIf things don’t go well, help children to analyse what might have gone wrong, to evaluate their options for improvement and to make the most appropriate decisions moving forward.
Reward effort and enjoy the processReward kids for their effort, so they develop the motivation to achieve their own goals. You know your child better than anyone. There is no magic recipe for them to learn to be individuals, so take pleasure in supporting them to best learn how to be themselves
Happy alone timeLet them spend time alone, either for fun or to carry out their chores; This way they will learn to enjoy their time alone, which is important because being alone is a very good way of getting to know ourselves.
Encourage autonomyPromote their autonomy, letting them satisfy their own needs, as this helps them to feel safe and to trust their abilities. There is also a further Storyberries parenting article devoted to the topic of autonomy.
My Special HairIn this wonderfully illustrated and poetic story, a young girl celebrates the uniqueness of her beautiful hair.
Field of GrassA wonderfully inspiring poem that encourages us to care for our beautiful minds and enjoy being ourselves.
Finnbar and the FirefliesFinnbar is a friendly border collie who discovers some fireflies whilst playing in the woods. Finnbar finds out that dogs and fireflies, although very different, can also be very good friends.
Article by Luzmery M. Romero Gamboa and Fleur Rodgers
Luzmery works in the area of clinical psychology as a psychotherapist for children, adolescents and families. Since 2016, she has run a Psychological Center in Venezuela called Psicoluz. She offers workshop facilitations to parents, is involved in recreational activities for children, and has been working as a freelancer since 2017 performing online psychotherapy.
Fleur is a meditation teacher in France and uses a compassion and loving-kindness based approach to meditation and slow-minded living. Fleur posts regularly to Instagram @rodgers.fleur . She has two children, is a qualified teacher in adult education and is the founder of Timeouttobreathe.com