Not So Independent

Wag your finger and read the following: “If every kid jumped off a bridge, would you jump too?”

Everyone heard this from their mother or father and maybe now you say it to your kids. Not so original but the idea behind is meaningful. Don’t be a sheep. Don’t do something simply because everyone else is.

In other words, be independent. Isn’t that one of the big ones? You know if there was a top 10 traits you hope to instill in your child – wouldn’t independence be on there? I am not saying that it is number one. We all have to make our list, but I am sure that independence would make many a parent’s list for traits they want to instill in their child.  I know for sure it would make mine.

However, sometimes too much independence can be a bad thing. A very bad thing.

I’ve mentioned before it has been a rough school year for BR. I don’t want to go into details but suffice to say, the stress level is growing for my wife and I.

This evening BR and I were talking. It had been a particularly rough school day. One of his teachers was absent. His other teacher was present, unfortunately (yes, I said it. What can I tell you? I am really fed up.). Anyway, he acted inappropriately. Those of you who have children with issues similar to BR or any issues for that matter can imagine what these actions might be. Specifics don’t matter.

“What happened today?”

“I was silly.”


“I don’t know.”

“Did you want the kids to laugh?”


“Did they?”


“Do you think they were laughing at you or with you?” I don’t know if he understood the difference.

“At me.”

“BR, the kids might laugh. They think it’s funny. But it’s inappropriate. However, they are going to think something is wrong.”

No reply.

“Bezalel they are going to think you are weird.”

“I don’t care.”

“You don’t care that the other kids are going to think you are weird?”

“No, what difference does it make?”

“Well, I care. I don’t want kids to think you are weird.”

And there you have it. He is in a place where he claims he does not care. Again, I don’t want him or SJ to do things simply because others are. However, this is different. He is in a classroom and that is a place where you have to submerge your independence and do what everyone is doing. Now, it is not so simple for BR. If only.

So, I am in a bit of a bind. I don’t want to emphasize that his behavior is weird and other kids may laugh at him. There are many components that go into him behaving as he is. One of them is his streak of independence. I wish for now, that he could be a little less independent.

28 thoughts on “Not So Independent

  1. It’s true Larry, my son is 21 months old and I can already see how independent he can be in situations that I don’t want him to be too independent yet! Then, I want him to be independent in other situations (like going to sleep alone) and he isn’t. But I agree with you that in a classroom it’s not where he should be so independent like this! I’m sure in time, he will understand better and realize his actions. Unfortunately, I’m the last person who you should be giving any advice; I don’t know yet, how I would address this as a parent! Hope all of you will have a great week! 🙂

  2. Oh, what a tough situation! Classroom manners are so hard to grasp. And what kid understands the difference between Good Independence and Weird Independence? I hope it starts to make sense to him soon!

    • I really hope so too. It has been quite frustrating and troubling. I don’t know when kids get this but I am nearly certain he will be delayed in this.

  3. Deal with that all of the time. Mr. T just doesn’t care – he’s more concerned about having a good time. He doesn’t believe that in order to learn things have to be so somber and serious (which, gets us in trouble frequently as he’s seen as a “class clown” and trying to get kids to laugh – it’s hard to explain that just because he learns better in a fun environment, not everyone does. And that some kids actually prefer a boring classroom… oh the horror!). But, he has no compunction about kids laughing at him. He does have issues with kids who are rude, but the laughing isn’t an issue. I want him to be self-confident and independent, but how do I temper that with my desire to protect him??

    • So, you are much more of a veteran when it comes to this parenting thing than I. How do you temper it? I’m listening.

      • oh, yeah, so not the one to give any worthwhile advice! In the end, I very seldom temper it. I will draw the line at some of his attempts. I will not let him wear the pink shirt that an older cousin helped him pimp out with an earring wearing yoda on in and fringe sleeves. I will not let him paint his nails (not even his toenails) just cause he feels like it would be fun. So, some of the more obvious items that would cause him more distress than he can imagine, I veto. Beyond that, you’d be surprised at how much I allow him to attempt. His brain is growing and developing and he’s learning how to make decisions… so, I let him. And when a teacher calls because he is disrupting class (happened 2 weeks ago) I talk to him about making better decisions and that he looses his right to make (his own) poor decisions when it starts to affect others.
        Again – not mother of the year – so here’s some salt to take with my words!

        • Well, it sounds like you at least know how to give/accept his decisions (some of them). I think that is important.

  4. Don’t you just wish you had a crystal ball? I am constantly wondering what of the children’s behaviors should I let go of and not worry about and which ones I should discipline and what are the proper words to use so I don’t scar them for life!

    • The thing is, no matter what you say or how careful you are with your words and your disciplining, something you don’t expect to scar your child will be the very thing that he/she carries with him/her. Children are independent thinkers by nature and interpret what happens around them and what is said to them in their own way.

      • I always joke that I know someday my boys will be on a couch talking to a therapist about their parents. Maybe, this issue will bethe reason why.

  5. Oh, that’s a tough one. I can’t quite recall the circumstances, but I remember carefully trying to tell my son something similar. He’s a self-conscious kid, so I really did not want to play up the whole “all the kids will be talking about you” angle too much, but at the same time, I felt that I had to so he wouldn’t act weird.

    May I ask if BR is in a regular classroom?

      • It’s hard to say…I think over time it may have. Making friends can be a little hard for him, but this year he has several friends in his class that he plays with a lot. He doesn’t complain anymore about not having friends. I just didn’t want him to be an outcast, so I tried to carefully talk to him about behaving in a way that would not push him to the fringes.

        I think teachers need more training on handling kids who have different issues. And other teachers need to work on their empathy. What bothers me the most are those who use humiliation as a classroom management tool. So far we’ve been lucky to have great teachers. But he’s only in first grade so I’m praying our luck holds out through the rest of his school years.

        • I so agree with you about the teachers needing more training in this area. I know that this experience has made me consider my own practice. Of course, it is with high school students so it is different but there are things to learn.
          I am glad your son is doing well socially. I hope it continues and he has plenty of friends.

  6. You and I have had too many conversations about this stuff and you read about how my son acts so I can’t add to that part of the conversation. My son proudly wears the weird badge (probably got that from me) so I’m not sure if that’s something you can tell him to get him settle down. I try to focus on talking to him about his CHOICES – there’s good choices and bad ones. I stay in contact with his teachers and my son gets ‘rewarded’ for making good choices in school. Hope this helps a bit.

    • Nothing worng with having some weirdness but there is a line and my son struggles to stay on the right side. Impulse control is a great challenges. Unfortunately, we feel the school has not been so consistent in terms of rewarding those good choices. We definitely try to stay positive at home and recognize that some of this is out of his control.

  7. I’d lean toward letting him be weird if that’s what he wants. I’m sure you’ve explained good choices and bad choices to him and how he is expected to behave in the classroom, but after that, independence is what makes leaders. If we all conformed to what the school system expected of us, there would be no Bill Gates, no Mark Zuckerberg, no Einstein. What an uninteresting world that would be.

    • Very true. I think his choices are a little more out there though. Ultimately, I hope he will learn when it is okay to be independent and when he needs to hold it together and act as expected.

  8. Hi,

    Wow! I am amazed at BR and his fight for affirmation. I have often mentioned to you that some of your own children’s behavior remind me of my own childhood One of my favorites sentences at BR’s age was ‘I don’t care.’ I was different than all of my school mates and I recognized that even though my parents told me the opposite. It boiled down to me recognizing that my thoughts were different. My parents labeled it independence that had to be tamed. I buckled under the pressure and hid my strangeness, but it always came up when I was alone.

    I don’t have children and I would not dare to give you any advice on how to handle the situation. however, I will say that I would have appreciated it more when my parents had taken me and explained that I had been blessed with a streak of independence that others would not understand and had asked me to keep it under control among others.

    I hope you and your wife find a peaceful solution that will satisfy not only yourselves, but BR also.

    I’ll say a prayer for BR.


    • I appreciate his individuality and respect his willingness to “I don’t care.” However, the other kids think he is weird. he has few friends. Even more importantly, some teachers and the administration cant necessarily handle him. It is causing my wife and I alot of stress.

  9. My 7 yrs old wants to make kids laugh too. It almost feels like if school is going to be hard for him, he would rather feel in control of why they are laughing. It is a hard one! If you figure it out, let me know 🙂

    • If I figure this out, I am writing a book, going on the talk show circuit, booking speaking engagements, etc. As you and I both know this issue is very hard and impacts many children.
      Thanks for checking in and I hope it is a good summer for your twice baked potato.

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