So your child is different. He likes sci-fi and fantasy, he is smart and a little quirky, he is a little weird and loves math, he can’t identify with most of the kids in school, and now is he a nerd? He most likely is. This is not a bad thing, it doesn’t mean the other kids are better than your child in any way, in fact, he is probably better than them in all in the subjects in school especially math, physics, and chemistry.
The downside, however, is that he is likely to be bullied and not have many friends. Most of them are ok without the friends but the bullying could be a real trouble for them. Sometimes, to fit in, they try to be like other kids though naturally, they are different. Kids are extremely susceptible to peer pressure at early ages, especially if they are trying to fit into a certain group. As a parent, it is your job to make sure that your child understands that he does not need to conform to a certain group of people in order to be accepted. You can introduce him to other like-minded kids who share the same passions as him. If he loves to read and write, you can help him find a writing group or book club, if he loves to draw, paint, or do the math, then you can sign him up for art lessons or get him a math teacher.
Every child has a different personality, some are extroverts who love to interact with other people, and some children are introverts who are more closeted. There is nothing wrong with either, but if your child is more of an introvert, you should try talking to him about his interests as well. You might even find out you have a common interest, and it could end up being the key to helping him accept his seemingly weird interests are perfectly fine. It will in a way give him the confidence to stand up to his bullies.
If he loves video games, comics, and certain TV shows, there are plenty of ways the two of you can bond over that. Having a family movie or TV nights will let him know that you support his interests. Buying him tickets to a convention as a Christmas or birthday present will give him the chance to interact with other fans who are interested in the same things as him.
There is Nothing Wrong With Being a Nerd
At some point, every parent is worried about his or her nerd child. This is normal and fine, being different could be frustrating for you the parent as well as the child. Because your child is different and likes to keep to himself, he will be picked on by other kids, some will make fun of him because of the seemingly weird and awkward things he is interested in. other kids will call him names like nerd, weirdo, four eyes, that is if he is using glasses and so on. This is frustrating and really painful for a small child, and you will have to be really supportive as a parent to help him get through it.
However, this doesn’t mean he is bad or defective in any way, it also doesn’t mean the other kids are better children that he is or anything. Your child is different, but that doesn’t make him any less special that other kids. Being an introvert could be challenging and difficult, parents tend to feel guilty that their kids don’t have enough friends, as long as you child is not being bullied, and he is perfectly ok with the things he does, then there is no cause for alarm.
How to Help Your Nerd-Child Feel Comfortable
As clearly stated above, it is a challenge of some sort, it doesn’t make your child any less special, if anything, he is most likely smart than most kids in his school. However, because of some of his choices and interests, he might be a victim of bullying, name calling and a lot of other things that will hurt him and make him feel bad about himself. Here is where you come in as a parent. It is your job to make your child feel safe, to make him feel accepted and make him understand that he is different and that is perfectly normal and ok. You have to remind him all the time, that you love him and he is really very special to you.
1. Share his world
Wave your own freak flag. If he ever feels bad about something other kids have said to him, he can just look at his own loving and nerdy family and, well, at least realize where he came from. He will come to appreciate the fact that just like other kids in school are making fun of him because he is different, in a way they are also different, but just blind enough not to see it. It is ok to be a nerd, and your child needs to feel comfortable in his own skin, being able to seem himself in you as his parent will surely reassure him that he is not a freak. So share his world, and make it fun whenever you can.
2. Encourage him
You have to be his first source of motivation. Encourage him to do the things he loves doing, even though other kids think it makes him a weird freak. Push him to follow his instincts and passion, also give him space when required. The more support he gets from the more reassured and confident he becomes and this will make him a better version of himself.
3. Commend his efforts
Nerds are mostly very smart kids. So getting an A in a subject that other kids think is difficult might seem far too easy for him, that he might think that he is not working hard enough. Tell him that he worked hard for the amazing things he accomplishes he is not simply smart. This will go a long way in helping him realize that despite being smart, life is such that he will have to work hard for what he wants in life.
4. Help him when he wants you to
Nerdy kids as I have repeatedly said are smart kids. However, when they ask for your help, provide it. Whether it is about an assignment, a problem he is facing in school, bullying, or maybe he is just finding it hard to bond with other kids. No matter how freaky or weird the things he does seem, as far as he is assured of you absolute support and backing, he will always monster the courage to go through it and it will seem a lot easier.
5. Talk about failure
Nerds could be perfectionists. This is a little problem because you can’t always have it at a hundred percent. It is, therefore, your job as a parent to make sure that your nerd child understands that it is ok to fail, that failure is a normal part of life. Talk about it and help him come to terms with it, because if you have never failed in life, you probably haven’t put yourself out there enough. Help him accept failure as a normal part of life that everyone experiences at some point in their lives in one way or another.
6. Dealing with bullying
When a child is bullied, it often has nothing to do with the victim but rather the bully. Children who call others names, push them around in hallways, or even mouth off online are looking for a way to vent their own frustrations. This is not to say that what they do is right or that it should be encouraged, but it is important nonetheless that your child understands that in most cases he has done nothing absolutely wrong. A parent should be the person their child can always rely on for constant support and encouragement. If your child is a nerd, then he needs you above all to show him that there is never anything wrong with being yourself.
7. Remember that he will be a teenager pretty soon
Sometimes some kids improve quite a lot as they grow. Some though do carry it heavily even as a teenager. The good news is mostly by the time your nerd son is a teenager, he would have grown out of some of his weirdness and would have probably made a couple cool genuine friends who love, accept and appreciate him for who he is. So the toughest part will be over by the time he is a teenager.