Q • Our 9-year-old twins, a girl and a boy, both really enjoy writing stories, poems, lyrics, etc., and we think that it's great. Our son doesn't care for sports but will get teased about this as well as his for his extracurricular writing. Our daughter never gets teased about writing and is encouraged to do so. How can we make sure that our son understands that what he's interested in is a valid activity and it's OK not to like sports? How can we make him feel good about writing and that it's just as important to boys as to girls?
From a reader • I've had a similar experience with my son. He loves to read and write but also got teased when he was young, but that was years ago. It's unacceptable that this behavior is still taking place. He refused to give up and stuck with his writing. By the time he got to high school, the stigma was completely gone. Just keep encouraging him and his sister to do what they love. — Meg S. in San Antonio, Texas
From Jodie Lynn • Your son's writing ability is a wonderful talent that is hopefully encouraged by his teachers, family members and others.
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It's not an easy task for anyone to be a good writer, especially if they're a child in an environment that is at least partially hostile to their ability.
Be sure that you share your information about him getting teased to each one of his teachers. I would be surprised if they didn't all agree to help keep a watchful eye on the situation as well as offer suggestions.
There must be quite a few kids who play sports at their school who are more or less among the “popular” crowd where others follow their opinions and sort of get sucked in for fear of being left out. Believe it or not, some of the kids who make fun of him could very well be jealous. They could also be doing it just to fit in with others.
Either way, continue to support both of them doing what they love.
There are plenty of writing contests for kids online and in-person. Maybe if he wanted, he could enter some of them for the experience.
I agree with the reader above in that once he gets older, he'll be much more appreciated and will have gained sufficient self-assurance by then to have developed and honed his skills.
CAN YOU HELP?
As a new stepmom, I'm wondering what is the best way to create traditions with my 8- and 10-year-old stepchildren? It seems like when I try to do something special, the kids say that they have already done it with their mom. The 8-year-old is a little more flexible but his sister shoots down just about everything I suggest. I'm not trying to take their mom's place, but it's time for us to create memories of our own.
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Jodie Lynn is an award-winning parenting columnist, author of five books and mother to three children. She and her family live in Wildwood.