23 Apr
He’s Not Your Goof!

Dear Mouthy Housewives,

My tweenage son can be what society calls goofy. And I mean goofy beyond that awkward goofiness every tween goes through. Think the Big Bang Theory goofy and you’ll have a better idea of the level of goofiness I mean – wicked smart, but very much into what our society considers “nerdy” things (i.e Star Trek, knee socks with shorts, etc.).

My question is is it okay for my mom friends to comment to me about his goofiness? Because it hurts my feelings, both for myself and my son, but maybe I’m being too sensitive? After all, they are just stating the obvious. Or are they being rude, and if so, how should I handle it?

Signed,

Don’t Call Him That

___________________________________

Dear Don’t,

Let me get out on a limb here (and hope that it will support me)– I suspect that you are not super comfortable with your son’s goofy status. After all, goofiness, while definitely endearing, is not a trait that is most often associated with successful masculinity in 2012 America.  Or maybe you are just fine with your son the way he is, but it’s just when your friends say it, you detect a smirk in their inflection.

Yes? Am I close? Beam me your answer! Because that limb is making cracking sounds.

Personally, I’m not a fan of labels. Although they definitely save a lot of time. Goof, geek, nerd, techy: most of us use these words and even those who don’t, get an instant descriptive image.  But what the labels leave out, and what as mothers we may object to when they’re applied to our babies, are all the other qualities that our children have that go unrecognized. Because our children, like all people, are more than a series of labels.

It doesn’t matter if you are being oversensitive, if they intend meanness when they call your son “goofy” or are just using it as shorthand way to describe the qualities you recognize in him.  What is important is that what your friends are saying is hurtful to you.  And you need to tell them that.  Let them know that you are not accusing them of doing anything wrong, but that you are sensitive on this subject.  Ask them to refrain from calling him “goofy”– if they are your friends they should not have to struggle with honoring your request.

Good luck,

Marinka, TMH

7 Responses to “He’s Not Your Goof!”

04.23.12#1

Comment by Happy.Baker.

As a fierce Mama Bear of a rather unorthodox child myself, and especially in light of all the recent bullying behavior among children, I hold a zero-tolerance policy on anyone bringing my children down. I don’t care if they’re joking. If it’s hurtful (to myself or to my child) then it’s inappropriate.

If your son seems confident in himself and hasn’t shown any signs of alienation, that’s wonderful. Keep up the positive support. But if people make comments that cause him to be self conscious about who he is or how he acts and dresses, please make sure not to brush it off. You sound very supportive, and if your friends can’t join you in that support, it might be time for a talk.

Best of luck.

04.23.12#2

Comment by Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes.

Tell them that you feel uncomfortable with them describing your son as such. And if they persist: have you ever seen pictures of the young Bill Gates?

04.23.12#3

Comment by natecammom.

You can also remind them that without geeks, goofs, techs, etc., we wouldn’t have the technology we have today. To quote Temple Grandin (love her!!!) “the world needs all kids of minds”.

04.23.12#4

Comment by Plano Mom.

Wonderful advice, keeps it personal so only the truly rude would take offense.

Personally I’m fond of reminding folks to be very careful who you make fun of; as karma will make them your boss one day.

04.23.12#5

Comment by Geek mom.

Is goofiness their term or yours? If it makes you feel uncomfortable or they say it in a mean way, call them on it…but you can also choose to own it. You can proudly say something like “yes a Bill Gates/Steve Jobs in the making.”. There’s nothing wrong with it and better he be wicked smart than the kids who’s life is downhill after high school.

04.28.12#6

Comment by marilynsmommy22.

personally, I think being goofy is a wonderful thing! that means he is confident enough to be himself, to “go against the crowd,” “think outside the box” and all those cute, cliché sayings. he is unique and you are raising him to know that that is OK!! of course we are all unique and special in our own ways but so many kids are teased or bullied so they try to be just like everyone else and never stand out or stand up for themselves. I have 3 very goofy sibling and love them all dearly but as a child I was sensitive and was teased badly. I became so introverted that I didn’t even feel comfortable being in the same room with them. I spent allot of time in my room being lonely because I didn’t have the courage to be myself even with my own family. only now at 27 am I really starting to like myself and have the confidence to not care so much about what other people think. I also am a single mother in the middle of a divorce. I married an asshole because I was pregnant and scared of what people would think of me if I didn’t. I don’t want my daughter to grow up feeling the way I did so I am raising her to believe that goofy is great!! that different does not mean bad! That our differences are beautiful and make us who we are. when someone calls your son goofy, just show them that you are proud of him and that you love him no matter what he does of what others think of him!! And make sure he knows it too!

06.07.12#7

Comment by Goof | English Language Reference.

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