Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Are You Raising a Cookie Cutter Kid?

Not long ago while conversing with a friend, she admitted to feeling insecure about posting pictures
on her Facebook profile of her eldest holding his musical instrument.

If you know me at all you can probably predict I responded with a speedy, “Why?”

This friend shared how many of her friends only post sports team photos and action game shots of their boys. After listening to her I said, “But we’re not trying to raise cookie cutter kids, are we?”

So what if her oldest boy is into music? In fact, I think that’s more than a little awesome.

This topic reminds me of everything I love about New England homes. When we lived in Ohio it was easy to mistake your house for plenty of others on the block because most of the houses looked identical. Not so in New England. You drive down one street and you’re likely to find capes, colonials, bungalows, bump-outs, houses with cedar shakes, brick, vinyl…the list goes on.  I liked our home in Ohio but something about the home we live in has an added uniqueness, an “I’m yours” quality to it.

Our conversation also made me think of my room as a teenager. I’ll forever be grateful for the freedom my parents gave me to decorate my room to my own style.

Picture: Collages covering every wall with a few posters of adorable animals and one or two posters of River Phoenix and Johnny Depp for good measure. On my ceiling I’d hung any rose anyone in our family of four girls had ever been given. Looking back I can see how it was one creative piecemealed mishmash. But it was “me.” It wasn’t the manicured Laura Ashley d├ęcor that inhabited some of my friend's rooms. But I loved it.

I know my mom friend is agreement with me when it comes to the importance of allowing our children to discover who they are. And because I feel passionately about this I’m throwing out the following list as a reminder to all of us parents…

Five Ways to Raise Un-Cookie Cutter Children (raising our children free of the confines of the cookie cutter mentality)

Identity Roots
More and more I’m beginning to experience the invaluable benefits of teaching my girls who they are at their core—and how deeply they’re loved from the second they enter this world. Loved from me and their father, but more importantly from their heavenly father.

Strengths Stem
Encouraging your child to experiment with different activities helps them to discern what truly excites them. Uplift their strengths. Recognize them as such. Then appreciate and celebrate them.

Openness Blossom
Be open with your children about your own struggles with comparison and jealousy (age appropriate). One of my daughters in particular struggles with jealous feelings often and I can’t tell you how receptive she is to my coaching her through this when I risk sharing time in my life I’ve felt vulnerable to jealousy.

Remind yourself it’s not about you. I have an eleven-year-old. I’m being reminded of this regularly. ;-)

When to Water
We’re wise to adjust our expectations when it comes to what our kids will be interested in. Waterskiing might have been “your thing.” Your kids might run kicking and screaming anytime they go near water. Hey, there’s always the snow.

Do you ever struggle with feeling like you need to raise a cookie cutter child?

photos by stock.XCHNG


  1. Well, I don't really feel like I "need" to from a standpoint of wanting to fit in, but more because I AM SUCH A CONTROL-FREAK.
    I have come to understand, love, and even appreciate the differences in my daughter from myself. She is definitely her own person. :)

    1. I love how you wrote that you understand + love + appreciate the differences in your daughter. So cool!

  2. I love this post, and I wish I could've seen your teenage room. :) Perhaps it's part of the homeschooling mentality, but I feel as if my kids are delightfully unique, quirky, free-to-be-me kind of kids. Of course, I see this more in the second one, my son, since the eldest is a 'color inside the lines' kind of girl.

    1. It matched my mind--my room. ;-)

      Hope your daughter colors orange (remembering orange table) inside those lines.

  3. Brava, my friend, brava!
    We can load our kiddos down with so many do's and don't's that they got lost under it all. "They" get lost. We have to be willing to give our kiddos freedom to breathe -- to let them discover who they are. And to do they, we have to turn our backs on parental peer pressure and choose to love our kiddos and celebrate them, no matter what anyone else is going to think, say, or do.

    1. Beth, thanks so much for your encouragement. It took me some time to really figure out who I was (think I'm still discovering on many levels) so I get what you're saying about giving them time. Parental peer pressure...I feel a post coming on. ;-)


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