Friday, March 29, 2013

In Crowd or Outcast, March to Your Own Beat

Welcome to the March 2013 Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival: Self-Expression and Conformity

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival hosted by Authentic Parenting and Living Peacefully with Children. This month our participants have written about authenticity through self-expression. We hope you enjoy this month's posts and consider joining us next month when we share about Peaceful Parenting Applied.


I moved about once per year as a kid. I didn't move to new towns, just new neighborhoods and schools. I made friends fast or I wouldn't have made friends at all. That said, and I'm not sure what it was about my childhood or if it was perhaps just my personality, but I always strove to be different. I was never popular and rarely made efforts to conform.

Actually, I think I occasionally did things to conform to my own clique of friends. I remember my year at Monte Cassino Catholic School that it was cool to wear your socks scrunched down. At All Saints Diocesan School we wore Keds, but they could not be new white! I remember kicking dirt onto new shoes. Man, we do some weird stuff as kids to fit in, don't we? My mom was so mad at me for messing up my new shoes!

Photo Credit: alessandra luvisotto

I'm kind of old, but these days... kids want to get piercings to fit in with the crowd. I've had a piercing and I have tattoos. I didn't even let my daughter get her ears pierced until her father and I felt she was old enough to tend to the piercings herself.

My teenage daughter, on the other hand... Well, she wants to fit in with someone but also doesn't seem to strive to be "popular." She has her own set of friends and does her own "weird" stuff as part of that group. She likes to cosplay.

My daughter the Panda.

As long as she isn't wearing clothing that I feel is too revealing, I've been totally supportive of her imagination when it comes to her style as well as her cosplay dress-up. I've been impressed with her ingenuity when she wants a costume piece right now (she always wants it right now!) and she has to come up with something from nothing.

I don't understand being embarrassed by what your child chooses to wear. I don't feel that her clothing choices are a reflection of me as a person or as a parent at all. I don't want to stifle her creativity or imagination. So... she looks "weird" sometimes. She sure has fun with it!

Do your kids do anything that makes them seem weird to the average passerby?
Does it make you uncomfortable or proud?


APBC - Authentic ParentingVisit Living Peacefully with Children and Authentic Parenting to find out how you can participate in next month's Authentic Parenting Blog Carnival!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:


  1. Jorje - pictures, please! If my kids ever seem weird to other people, I'm probably too busy dancing in the van with them or some such to notice.

    1. There's one shot of Tyler above, looking weird enough. lol She is also featured in my Mamatography posts sometimes with face paint if nothing else. She practices makeup a lot.

  2. I love this post! Teen years are crazy! You want to be unique and individual but it must be the right TYPE of individuality and carried out in just the right way. Get it wrong and your world comes crashing down. Conform too much and you're labeled a sheep and have no identity whatsoever.
    It's funny the way some kids choose to "disappear" into the crowd, hoping to attain anonymity through conformity while others make themselves spectacularly visible.
    I am with you, in that I support my children's choices to express themselves no matter what sort of identity they are wishing to portray from week to week.

  3. You're an awesome mom! I fully support my kids' choices, but I know it's easy now that they are little. Everything is adorable at this stage. I know it will be harder later on, but my goal is to offer full support - with basically the same more safety oriented limitations that you mention above.

    1. I think it might have been harder for me to do when I was younger, but I think I've mellowed in my old age. Its like a "pick your battles" kind of thing or saying "yes" to your kid rather than a knee-jerk "no."

      None of my kids' crazy choices has any real effect on my life, so why stifle? I don't think you'll have any trouble, so long as you're not a "keeping up with the Joneses" or "what will the neighbors think" kind of person. :)

  4. I know I am much more go with the flow than my husband. As our toddler gets older and more oppinated, it will be interesting to see how we handle it


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