As far as this generation’s kids are concerned, there are only two types of kids in school and everywhere else: the cool kid who belongs to the cool crowd, and the unpopular kid whose name you’ve never heard of because he just kind of blends into the background.
Growing up myself, I know first-hand that I did not belong to the “Popular” group. I came from a family of 5 children and we didn’t grow up with the best of things. Skips as sneakers instead of Puma’s the other kids wore. Salvation Army jeans instead of the Jordach or other popular brands was what we had. My parents got by with getting us all what we “needed.” So I felt like I didn’t “fit” in with the popular group. This by no means mean that I was not “Cool.”
If you think your child belongs to the unpopular group, as I did, you may keep trying to change their personalities to make them “cool” but as a result only confuse them more.
Why does it seem so hard for your kid to become cooler?
The problem doesn’t lie in the fact that your kid is too socially awkward to fit in. The problem lies in your definition of coolness.
There are a lot of factors that come into play when defining what is cool and what’s not; this changes with the whos, the whens, and the wheres. Because of this, there is one important thing that you should remember and try to make your child understand: THERE IS NO, AND NEVER WILL BE A, STANDARD DEFINITION FOR COOLNESS. What one group of kids at a certain time and at a certain place may think is cool may be considered uncool by another, and vice versa. Hey, remember when braces on teeth were uncool? Nowadays the kids love to wear them!
The question is: Does this mean your child can never really be cool?
The answer: He already is.
Because there is no standard definition for coolness, your kid can become cool just by being himself. There is nothing cooler than being comfortable in one’s own skin. This goes both ways. An unpopular kid has to learn to become more confident with who he is. He doesn’t need to be “cut out” to be part of the in-crowd. He also doesn’t have to force himself to change because this would take away the things that make him unique. On the other hand, the popular kid has to understand that the only approval he needs is his own; he is cool because he is who he is and not because he is who others want him to be.
Once upon a time, X-number of children, and years ago, you also experienced either being a part of the in-crowd or being the kid who just existed. Either way, you should be aware by now that a double standard exists and will continue to exist, even as the definition for coolness evolves with time. As an unpopular kid, you may have felt like you didn’t belong; as the cool kid, you may have felt so pressured to constantly show off to live up to your reputation. Looking back, do you think it’s really worth it to push your kid into fitting in when he’s already awesome for who he is?
Your Neighborhood Martial Art’s Instructor, Renshi Adam McCauley, Go No Sen Karate, Blue Mt. Plaza, Welcher Ave, Peekskill, NY 10566 914.734.2461 www.gonosen.com