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Should Weird Kids be Pitied or Celebrated?

healthy kids, parents and children

In defense of weird kids

If you’re worried that your kids are weird — and having weird kids is NOT the goal — an essay today on Babble’s main site should reassure you that (1) your kid probably isn’t weird and (2) even so, he’ll be just fine.

Aeriel Brown, who performed in her family’s traveling circus as a kid, does a lot of reassuring to her friends, who often wonder aloud whether they’re kids are too weird. What they’re really saying, Brown writes in “The Weird Kids are Alright,” is that they fear they’re bad parents. Of course they’re not, she says. As for the weirdness? The more the better, she thinks.

Brown’s early life was spent on the road — an infant busker and, eventually, traveling around in a VW bus, juggling and riding unicycles at fairs and festivals. Her brother and sister were also part of the family’s act, as well as their parents. The brother wore a leash, the sister retreated into serious role play. They made a living. They were known in their small town as the weird family.

This is the part where I’m supposed to tell you about the kids’ struggles with drugs and alcohol, bad grades and an inability to fit in. And yet. That’s not a part of Brown’s story. They’re all fine. They’re even close to their parents!

Brown not only defends weirdness in a family, she encourages it. Creativity, flexibility — and plenty of fodder for idol chit-chat. How hard could it be to make new friends if you can promise to teach them to ride a bike with one wheel?

We focus so much on individuality in American culture — original names, one-of-a-kind outfits — why not embrace the weird? According to Brown, it couldn’t hurt.

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