In a world where people are trying to fit in, why I’m letting my kid stay weird.

In two days, my kid is going into grade 5. You guys!! Grade 5!

So much growth happens between grade 5 and 8 where kids are finding who they are, who their friends are and picking a sport they want to excel in.

This age can be confusing as they go through hormonal changes too. They wrestle with their emotions, their body changes and try to navigate the popularity hierarchy at school.

What’s really cool about my kid is that he doesn’t care about what others think yet. I hope he stays that way.

This Kinda Life hugging by a blue building in Summerside, PEI

He’s different than most. He loves butterflies and makes it his mission to find eggs, incubate, raise and release Monarchs every summer. He does it like it’s his job and to be honest, he’s become an expert and takes every opportunity to educate others about these butterflies.

There were times over the years where a few people made comments that butterflies aren’t really a boy thing (save that topic for another day).

He loves to fish and will spend days by the lake casting his fishing line, without a care. He investigates bugs and finds animals and other critters to study everywhere he goes.

He listens to 80’s music with me and knows all the words to all the songs. The best part is, he thinks he’s the coolest kid for loving that kind of music when his friends are listening to modern hip hop.

Cooper is the kind of kid who finds a passion and completely immerses himself in that.

This Kinda Life holding butterfly on finger

He’s been called weird on a few occasions, and I love that he thinks of it as a compliment. He’s also the kind of kid who is unapologetic for who he is, and I admire that about him.

I think more kids need to let their freak flag fly, so to say. It’s refreshing to see them find their “thing” and just run with it. Those weird kids who are so razor-focused on something others just don’t get, and that’s ok!

Those weird kids are going to change the world.

As your child gets ready to start a new grade, they’re probably nervous about everything except the workload (or if they are, I’d say that’s a wonderfully weird thing). They’re worried about friends and fashion, or about making the sports team.

They’re worried about fitting in, when they should be proud to stand out.

As parents I hope you encourage them to be themselves, as weird and wonderful as they are. Be unique. Be strange. Be the person who makes amazing changes in the world.

Teach them the importance of being kind instead of being popular.

This Kinda Life at Bryan Adams concert in Toronto

We work hard in our home to stay positive applaud people who are different. We don’t make Cooper conform for the sake of fitting in. We encourage him to be friends with everyone and be the bridge between different groups of people.

It wasn’t always like this, but after years of self reflection, I’m happy to say he’s flourished. He’s the type of kid I wish I was when I was younger.

Me as a ten year old was ashamed of my body and desperately wanted to fit in with the popular crowd. I craved acceptance.

Not Cooper. He’s a take me as I am kind of kid and is friends with everyone.

These next years are going to be challenging for us as parents, but harder for them as they grow into teenagers. They’ll be trying to figure out their body changes, their voice changes and the emotions that come with getting older.

School pressures add to the confusion, and I feel like school tends to push kids to be more alike rather than stand out. It’s a lot for kids to navigate, and for them, school is their entire world. They don’t realize this just a small time in their long lives.

As another school year starts, we need to make it easier for them. And the best way to do that is to encourage them to be themselves. Their wonderfully weird selves.

XO

Apryl

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