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Trouble Fitting In

Education Expert Advice from Peggy Gisler, Ed.S. and Marge Eberts, Ed.S.

Q: My son is not athletic and has trouble fitting in with the crowd. He says he is a loser and will never be popular like his brothers. How can we help?

A: It's very difficult to follow in the footsteps of popular siblings. No matter what your son does, he may not achieve the level of popularity his brothers enjoy. Nevertheless, feeling good about himself is essential to his well-being. To do this he needs to find a niche at school where he feels comfortable and is accepted by his peers.

You may have to spend some extra time with your son to help him discover his special strengths and interests. Then guide him into these fields and give him your support. A child who plays the drums in the band can enjoy school just as much as a very popular quarterback. Furthermore, being a member of a group, whether it's the school band, a club, or the yearbook staff brings friendships and acceptance.

If you are unable to find any school activities that appeal to your son, enlist the help of his counselor. The counselor may be able to suggest activities as well as help him get involved in them. Your son needs to realize, however, that he may have to try several different activities before he finally finds the one he likes.

Besides school activities, children can boost their self-esteem and find friends through participating in community activities, such as scouting and volunteering. Also, part-time jobs bring satisfaction and a feeling of success to students. In fact, any activity that makes children feel good about themselves will ease the pain of not being extremely popular at school.

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Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.

Please note: This "Expert Advice" area of FamilyEducation.com should be used for general information purposes only. Advice given here is not intended to provide a basis for action in particular circumstances without consideration by a competent professional. Before using this Expert Advice area, please review our General and Medical Disclaimers.

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