growing up

One of the tough ones

one of the tough ones

I was getting Truett ready for school this morning and instead of his usual manly Doraemon mozzie patch, I took out a wrong one and gave him Kirsten’s Hello Kitty version instead. He requested to swap it, but since I had already peeled off the adhesive (and they were also already fashionably late for school), I brushed it off as one of those bizarre quirks that kids have from time to time.

He was quite insistent and was all like, “Mom, I need the blue patch. This one is for girls and my friends will call me a girl.

I didn’t think peer pressure would be an issue at this age and come on, are kids childish enough to pick on a tiny Hello Kitty mozzie patch? That’s like the kind of lame comment one swats off like an annoying fly. I mean, it’s not like I was making him wear a frilly pink tutu with sequins.

But he seemed genuinely troubled.

I thought this would be a good time to teach my boy to deal with others poking fun at him or not agreeing with his choices, but that’s a hard lesson to learn when you’re five, even harder when you’re 31.

In any case, I’m way too old to do the angsty rant about not giving a rat’s ass about what anyone else thinks. Because I do. It’s nice to be agreed with. It’s nice to be regarded as smart and discerning. It’s nice to be liked. By everyone. Including that weird dude who mumbles to himself in the elevator. So I get that my five-year-old wants to fit in and be liked by his peers.

Over the years though, I’ve come to realize that while it’s all well and good to want people to like me, there’s only so much I can do to make that happen. At some point, I have to be ok with the fact that people are not going to agree with all the choices that I make in life. They’ll think that what I believe in is stupid or that my principles are sanctimonious or that my preferences are outrageous. Even at 31, this doesn’t get any less sucky when it happens, but we learn to deal because sometimes, certain things are just more important than others.

So I looked at Truett and told him that I knew how awful it feels when his friends laugh at him but was ok to be different (and also to tell me the names of every single one who did it. Ok, I’m kidding. Sort of.) And if he really wanted to go with the manly Doraemon patch, do it because that’s what he really wanted, not because he was afraid of what others would think.

In the end, he went with manly patch but when we got into the car, he told me that I could keep the Hello Kitty one on him as well, as long as I hid it inside his back pocket.

Baby steps. I guess we’re all learning.

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  • Reply Kate July 30, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    Hi Daphne,
    I thnk it affects boys of all ages. My boy who’s 7 this year is very disturbed by what others say of him. I think peer pressure is getting worse these days cos’ kids learn a lot of grown-up language to jeer at other kids, at a young age (younger than our time). Most of the times, I tell him to ignore what others say of him but even I am taken aback sometimes when I see how/what those kids are saying. And man, some of those kids are relentless, even after I give them the evil eye/tell them to stop.

    • Reply Daphne August 1, 2013 at 12:32 pm

      I think it happened during our time as well, but you’re right in that kids these days are way more savvy in terms of their language and delivery. And I think sometimes they don’t realize how mean it is, it’s just pack mentality taking over.

  • Reply Yvonne July 30, 2013 at 9:11 pm

    This is a lovely post :) I like the part you asked Trutt to do what he wants and not make a choice because he is afraid others will think of him/his decision. This is indeed something even we adults have problems with! Definitely a tough one to teach :) but u did well!

    • Reply Daphne August 1, 2013 at 12:33 pm

      Thanks Yvonne! Sometimes I just want to keep them in a protective bubble but they’re growing up so fast and the best thing we can do is explain to them and help them through it a bit at a time.

  • Reply Hilda Han July 30, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    I totally get what you mean! My daughter is 6 this year and I worry that she feels the need to fit in at school in terms of having the newest and latest things. When we volunteered for hair for hope, my going on 4 years old son insisted on signing up with us and I worried that his school mates would laugh at him. So for a few months, we tried to remind them the reasons for why we volunteered and why this means anything and tried to advise them that it doesn’t really matter what others think as long as they believe in the choices they make. Thankfully, they seem to understand and there have been no incidents at school too. :) maybe I was just too negative.

    • Reply Daphne August 1, 2013 at 12:35 pm

      Awesome getting him involved in hair for hope! And glad it was turned out well! :)

  • Reply JustHeather July 31, 2013 at 4:19 am

    Totally get not wanting to be made fun of, even if it doesn’t happen, the idea of it isn’t nice.
    By the way, what is a mozzie patch?

    • Reply Daphne August 1, 2013 at 12:36 pm

      Oh it’s a patch that works like an insect repellent. We’ve got a dengue situation here so better to be safe than sorry. We’ve been making them wear the patches to prevent mosquito attacks.

      • Reply JustHeather August 1, 2013 at 1:20 pm

        Ah, thanks for the clarification. Dengue is serious…A friend got it years ago and is lucky to be alive. :S

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