Do your kids ever fret over the fact that they “don’t fit in”? We all feel this way at some point in our lives. Being alone in a room full of people is a scary thing. We all want to belong; to fit in. It’s beyond instinctive, it gives us the feeling of safety and security–no matter what our age. So, when our kids tell us that they don’t fit in, what they could be saying is, “I’m scared because I don’t feel safe”.
Some kids really have a tough time fitting in for a variety of reasons. Some kids are socially awkward, and don’t know how to start a conversation with a peer. If your child struggles with a physical or learning disability, chances are he/she feels isolated from the rest of the class anyway. Whatever the reason is, simply telling them that they really DO fit in, is not as helpful as you’d expect. That well meaning little white lie might make the child feel that they’re so different that even YOU don’t understand them! Always be truthful with them. Validate that they are sad or hurting, and together come up with some ideas to help them through this.
Using God’s Word to Encourage Our Children
Teaching social skills isn’t easy, but there are resources to be found everywhere. Sometimes our kids have already learned what to do, but they lack the knowledge of how to put those skills to use. Coach them. Come up with workable scenarios where they can plug in those skills.
Being a Christian parent doesn’t make dealing with these tough situations easier. But we DO have a resource to back up what we tell our kids, and that’s God’s Word. When we actively listen to the pain of our children feeling like they don’t belong or fit in, we can do more than coach them in social skills (which may be a very important tool). We can use God’s Word to encourage them even in these struggles.
Psalm 139:14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.
I’ve found the world’s solutions to the many painful aspects of not fitting in, being teased, or feeling isolated, are superficial at best and not helpful at all. I mean, sticks and stones may definitely break my bones–but words really CAN and DO hurt me!
Instead we must remind our children that God, who created them and therefore knows every nuance of them, has a specific plan and purpose for their lives. That HE thinks they are wonderful and worthy of love AND friendship. God actually desires a relationship with them…WITH THEM! That’s a big deal, because when we feel so insignificant in the eyes of our peers, the knowledge that the God of all Creation desires a relationship with US –even with all our perceived weirdness, awkwardness and ugliness, then it’s a first step in accepting that maybe–just maybe–WE DO belong.
Lisa Strnad is an independent contractor in Christian media as a writer, marketing consultant, and public relations specialist. She speaks to Christian women’s groups on the issues of motherhood, home schooling and raising a child with special needs. Lisa and her family make their home in Nashville.