Eccentric Children

In the discussion of skyrocketing tuition costs on Orthonomics, a poster writes that homeschooled kids are easily identified as such and implies that they are tagged as “different” by their peers. The commenter obviously sees this as a bad thing.

I don’t homeschool (yet) but I happily embrace my children’s eccentricities. I would much rather teach them to cope with rejection by their peers (up to a degree of course) than encourage them to conform. I have one child who is particularly unique, and no amount of “socialization” would “cure” his unusual traits. His mind works differently from others and that is his lot in life. He realizes there are many benefits to being different, as well as challenges. As he gets older he meets children of different ages who respect him for himself. Fortunately, as an adult, he won’t need to get along with “children of his own age,” who as a rule are unable to accept an unusual child; he will need to get along with everyone. There will be a lot of adults who will not understand him or like him, but isn’t that the case with many of us? Our goal in life is not popularity.

Eccentricity can be a positive thing. I have read that many Holocaust survivors remember being difficult children; a case in point is my own father who reports that his parents consulted with the local “medicine man” regarding his behavior. The doctor knocked on my father’s knee, which jerked, and the medicine man promptly proclaimed my father a meshuggener.

Our job as parents is to teach our children our values and let them interpret them in their own unique way. Teaching them to conform in order to be accepted is a negative value. The best gift we can give to our children is complete acceptance of their unique, God-given qualities and guidance in channelling them appropriately.


  1. SephardiLady says

    Great post. Chinuch al pi darcho, I believe, is really about following a child’s lead and guiding them appropriately according to their own unique mold.

    If one of our children develops a “bizarre” but appropriate interest, so be it. I’d rather he/she enjoy that interest and learn to cope, than we try to fit him/her into a box that is too small.

  2. Liorah-Lleucu says

    It’s wonderful that you cherish your children’s eccentricities! May your family be blessed!

  3. mother in israel says

    SL–Yes, if we trust them our chldren often let us know what we need to do.

    Liorah–Thank you for stopping by and giving your good wishes!!