Helping Kids That Want To Fit In

Helping Kids Who Desperately Want To Fit In

Helping Kids That Want To Fit In


Let me explain… This episode of the Impactful Parent talks about why parents shouldn’t want their kids to fit in. You see, fitting in means that a child has to change themselves to be accepted by the group. Yet, the longing to BELONG is very strong. If a child does not think they can belong by being themselves, then they will resort to fitting in to fill that void. OH NO! ⭐ Discover how parents can help their child foster belonging and stay true to their authentic self. ⭐ This episode is a MUST-WATCH!

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Helping Kids That Want To Fit In

Who is this kid? What happened to my child?

It happens all too often when one day something just shifts, and you see your child forcing themselves to switch to a different person. This is not just experimentation, although it certainly can look like that at first. Maybe trying a new haircut? Switching how they dress? Or even experimenting with substances. But what I am talking about today goes deeper. This is your child changing themselves to FIT IN.

This is a dangerous, slippery slope that everyone has tested out at some point in their life. The need to fit in is strong amongst all of us- especially your teenager who is insecure and trying desperately to figure out where their place is in this world. But as a parent, watching on the sidelines as your child is morphing into a person you don’t recognize can be very scary. Let me tell you a story…

Stephanie, a mom, heard a commotion and ran upstairs to her child’s room where she found her daughter, Logan, sobbing on her bed. Logan had torn down a poster from her wall and smashed a gift a friend had just given her onto the floor. The family recently moved and that meant a brand-new school for Logan. At first, Logan had a tough time making friends. She started to get resentful that her parents made her leave her old friend group. She found herself constantly comparing herself to her peers in her new school and feeling as though she didn’t fit in.

Until one day, a group of girls finally gave Logan some attention. Since then, Logan bent over backwards to impress this new friend group. It started innocently. She mirrored their slang, wore ripped jeans despite hating the cold, and even started wearing her makeup differently. But as many things do, it started to snowball. Logan’s mom, Stephanie, started to get concerned. Logan stopped doing some of the things she loved. Slowly Stephanie watched as her daughter took on a whole new personality.

Initially, Logan felt a fleeting sense of validation as she received positive feedback and inclusion from her peers. At first, there was a thrill of belonging. But as time went on, a nagging feeling of emptiness started to creep in. In their quest to fit in, Logan slowly began losing touch with their true interests, values, and even her identity. But Logan didn’t really understand that. She just knew she was unhappy and didn’t really like her new friends. She was exhausted from the acting she had to do every day. Staying up late with this group of girls left her drained for school. Skipping her favorite classes and after-school activities left a void where her passion once resided. The constant strain of pretending took its toll. Every day was a performance. But Logan still longed for acceptance and feared rejection and judgment.

Helping Kids Who Desperately Want To Fit In

Helping Kids Who Desperately Want To Fit In

So, this day, Logan had reached a breaking point she didn’t even really understand. She knew she hated her life, her school, and her friends. In frustration, she tore down a poster of a band she didn’t even like and smashed a gift one of her so-called friends had given her. Stephanie walked into her daughter’s room to see tears well up in Logan’s eyes. Logan was in the middle of a silent scream.

Hello, my name is Kristina Campos. Today I want to give you tips for helping a child who wants to desperately fit in. I am the founder of the Impactful Parent. I help parents of school-aged children, who want to be one step ahead of their kids, to turn their chaos into connection with their adolescence.

Today is the Impactful Parent’s Question and Answer Thursday! This is a special episode where YOU too, can email me at [email protected] or Message me on social media and ask a parenting question about raising a school-aged child! All questions are kept anonymous. Logan and Stephanie represent so many parents and teens out there, but the viewer who wrote in did not tell that story. That was based on my own experiences with my daughter. Instead, the viewer wrote: Help. My son found a new friend group and now the boy I once knew is changing. Is it normal for my son to change so much to fit? I am worried about him.

The short answer to this question is: Yes, it is common for kids to change to fit in. So, let us talk about strategies to help a child who is losing themselves in the process of trying to fit in.

First, we need to warn our kids about fitting in. We don’t want our kids to “fit in.” Let me explain. Fitting in stems from a need to feel accepted and to belong. But fitting in refers to the act of conforming to a group to be accepted or approved by others. It involves changing our behavior, beliefs, or appearance to match those of the group.

Belonging, on the other hand, refers to a deep sense of connection and acceptance within a group. Belonging is about feeling accepted, respected, and valued for who you are, without the need to change or pretend to be someone else.

Helping Kids Who Desperately Want To Fit In

The need for belonging is a fundamental aspect of human nature as it fulfills our social and psychological needs. Our need for belonging as people is extremely strong. Humans are made to be a part of a pack. Belonging brings connection, happiness, social support, understanding, encouragement, and enhances our ability to deal with stressful situations. Belonging brings feelings of self-worth, gives us a sense of purpose, increases our resilience, makes us feel secure, and can even inspire us. Belonging is crucial for emotional well-being, self-esteem, and growth.

But too many times our kids want to belong so much that they resort to fitting in. We all have been there, but that doesn’t mean we want our kids to experience fitting in for too long. So, let’s talk about strategies for helping your child get out of “fitting in.”

Here are five strategies you want your child to strive for to foster a sense of belonging rather than simply trying to fit in:

  1. Seek out like-minded communities.
  2. Embrace their authentic self.
  3. Foster inclusive relationships.
  4. Practice empathy and listening.
  5. Contribute to their community.

Again, those are the goals but how do parents encourage their kids to reach those goals? Let’s talk about some strategies.

How parents can help children feel a sense of belonging:

Put your child in groups where they will meet other people with similar interests. After-school activities outside of school may be important if your child cannot find clubs and sports during the school day that they feel can let their guard down.

Create a safe and accepting environment at home. Foster an open and non-judgmental atmosphere at home where your child feels comfortable expressing their true self. Encourage open communication, active listening, and empathy to create a safe space for them to be authentic without fear of criticism or rejection.

Helping Kids Who Desperately Want To Fit In

Helping Kids Who Desperately Want To Fit In

Help your child develop a positive self-image and self-worth by affirming their strengths, talents, and unique qualities. Encourage them to embrace their individuality, teaching them that they are worthy of love and acceptance just as they are. This means very little teasing and the parents being flexible with allowing their child to express themselves in clothes, music, make-up, and bedroom décor as much as possible.

Encourage independence and self-discovery. Support teenagers in exploring their own interests, passions, and values. This means you must drop your own agenda. Too many times parents think they know what is best for the child, but you also must balance that with encouraging them to pursue their own activities and hobbies.

Teach critical thinking and media literacy. Help teenagers develop critical thinking skills and media literacy to navigate societal pressures and stereotypes. Encourage them to question societal norms and media messages that promote conformity, helping them understand that true belonging comes from staying true to themselves rather than conforming to societal expectations.

Model your own authenticity and belonging. Be a role model for your child by demonstrating authenticity and a sense of belonging yourself. Show them that it is okay to be true to who you are even if it means a smaller friend group, accepting some teasing from our own friends or family, and being unapologetically ourselves out in public.

Do some volunteer work with your child and contribute to the community. Engaging in acts of service, support, or giving back to your community can enhance a sense of belonging. By contributing your skills, time, or resources to a larger cause, you establish meaningful connections with others who share a common purpose.

And lastly, it is important that parents self-reflect and make sure that they are not contributing to part of the problem. I know this is difficult to hear but no parent is perfect. We usually can improve. So, I highly encourage you to check out episode 250 of the Impactful Parent called: How Parents Unintentionally Hurt Their Child’s Self-Esteem. This is an amazing episode that will help you discover any “oops” in your parenting that could be contributing to your child’s need to fit in. Check it out here:

Thank you for joining me today. Remember that this episode is just a small part of what the Impactful Parent offers. Also available are online courses, parent support groups, coaching services, and the Impactful Parent app! Find out more by going to

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But until next time, you got this, parents. I am just here to help.

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Posted on

March 21, 2024