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Now, let me start this dangerous question off by saying I'm just a wannabe mama and I'm sure things come into focus when you have little ones, but...


Do your kids ever feel "weird"?
I plan to have water birth, raise veggie kids, homeschool, chuck the TV, and so on. Everyone wants to protect their child, of course, but I worry about OVERsheltering them. How should I bring balance into their lives? I just worry about my children feeling like they're weird, and I'm sure there are bratty kids (and even clueless parents) out there who will pick on them, regardless of whether it's the right lifestyle or not. I'm an experienced "oddball" and can deal with skeptics, but how do you help your kids through this?
 

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Most of those things won't mean anything to other kids. I doubt their friends will know they were born at home, and even if they know I doubt they'll care. Nobody teased our LDS friends when they couldn't drink iced tea or coke, and I knew more than a few veg's in school who were not considered odd in any way (in fact, it was kinda cool). Nobody teased my neighbour who was home schooled. In fact, I knew a very shy and overly sheltered home-schooled girl when I was in high school who was not bothered about it. Every child gets teased for something, especially if you send them off to school. If you involve yourself with people who are like minded there will be community there, and any teasing will be rare. I really don't think this will be a problem, though. You have to learn to be flexible. If you don't have TV at home, don't forbid them from occasionally watching movies with their friends. They will not be "oddballs," but if they feel like they are, let them do what they need to do (within reasonable limits) to feel "normal." Do what you can to allow them to make their own choices when they show the desire. I think encouraging independance and free-choice will help.
 

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Good question:
I guess I'm living what you are asking about. And it is hard. My son is 3. Its already hard, sometimes. Not all the time.
Things like cousins "playing" guns or war. I don't permit that in my house. The kids think we're weird and the parents do too (only they talk behind my back) kids will tell me to my face... "thats weird" They think it's weird that my son does not eat meat and have snuck bacon (of all the vile meats) in his mouth. Things like this happen each time we're together.
These are good kids too, even though I am making them out to be demons. They are good kids. It is a different world, they live in from mine and my family.
Other than family (whom we're stuck with) I surround myself with like minded friends. Both for myself and my son. I hope he can continue to grow with these people and not be "phased" by the "cousins and other influences he'll be faced with in life.
I also am prepared(ing) for the day when he wants to express his free will and do something I might not have wanted for him. I'm going to have to deal with that just like my poor parents had to deal with me quiting meat at 9 and protesting Regan Iran/Contra at 14. That was hard for them but they kept it to themselves and let be blossom into me. I can only do my best to equip my son with empathy, grace and compassion and HOPE for the best.
...boy.. I got long winded. Sorry. I guess I needed to think about this again. It is a constant theme I go back to as a Mom.
 

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I think the bottom line is to give them a caring, secure base so that they have a good inner sense that they are loved for who they are (not what they do or what they wear). Kids can weather a lot with that.

Developmentally speaking, kids don't care that much about what other kids think until they are 7 or 8. That doesn't mean they don't notice differences, or mention them, but if you say "we don't eat meat" they may respond "that's weird" or "why?" and be OK with your explanation.

I think a lot of it is having a community of people (in real life) who share at least some of your values. So in my son's daycare/preschool, about 1/4 of the families are vegetarian (we're not), so all the kids have seen from day 1 that some kids don't eat meat. Lots of the families there don't have a TV or don't watch it much at all. Depending on where you are, you'll likely find some homeschoolers who are like minded.

Mostly I think, you just accept them for who they are, and teach them to be tolerant of others. Our son wears a pair of purple sparkly flip flops sometimes. I'm sure other parents would object (too girly). We painted his toes when he asked. So, it's pretty funny to see our son outside watching the garbage trucks (his passion) wearing purple flip flops or with painted toenails. He has no idea that this is 'weird', because in his world, it's not.

Kids who are loved and respected grow up to love and respect others. What better innoculation against skeptics could you want?
 
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