“Weird,” as defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, means to be “of strange or extraordinary character.” It is a term that has been used to label those who may be different. There is often a misconception that being different or being weird is bad. However, as the definition states, it can be someone who is exceptional. It’s not uncommon to look into the history of our leaders to find they too were—or are!—considered weird. It takes a lot of self-confidence to choose to be yourself, no matter what someone else thinks.
While we are looking at definitions, let’s take a look at the definition of normal. It means, “Conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern: characterized by that which is considered usual, typical, or routine.” This seems okay when you are looking at it by definition. But when applied to humans, with our own thoughts, emotions, and opinions, it seems like it would be hard to fit in. We could even be bold and say that most people are weird in their own right. No single person is exactly like another.
So, your daughter doesn’t fit in with other kids around them. She doesn’t suit the idea you have of what “normal” is supposed to look like for her age. The real question, outside of how you feel about it, is to find out if she is happy. If she is happy and thriving despite being different, then there is no real reason to try and change anything. If she isn’t happy, then you may need to enlist the help of a professional to figure out how to help her build her self-esteem.
It’s Okay to Be Different
People use the word “weird” to label a lot of different things. They could be using it to define someone who has style choices different from their own. They could also be using it to describe behavior they don’t understand or don’t like. Or, maybe someone made a choice they could never see themselves making and they find it weird. It doesn’t matter what they are using the word to define. They are really just stating an opinion or passing judgment on something they don’t understand.
Children who are creative, imaginative, and courageous are often considered weird. There can be side effects to being different, though—for instance, loneliness, bullying, and peer rejection. They will need your support to help them remain happy and well-balanced, so they can bravely face a world that may not understand them.
Support Your Child’s Weirdness
It’s important that you maintain open communication with your daughter. She has to know you are on her side, no matter what. Let her know that it’s okay to think for herself, and she doesn’t have to agree with what everyone else thinks. Everyone has an opinion; hers isn’t any less valid if it’s not the same as the rest of her peers’.
If your daughter is on the more disruptive side of weird, it will be important to discuss boundaries. There is a time and place for everything. Does she like to make up songs and belt them out as loud as she can? You can set up times and places where it is okay for her to do this. This can help her understand why the middle of a classroom isn’t one of those times. It doesn’t mean she isn’t allowed to be herself.
Having a daughter who stands out from the crowd—especially if you are someone who likes to “go with the flow”—can be difficult. You may even struggle with your own sense of embarrassment, or be concerned about how others view you as a parent. But what they think of you doesn’t matter. They only offer opinions and it doesn’t make them right. Stand with your child and be her biggest cheerleader. You may even learn a thing or two along the way.