How Growing Up as a Geeky Kid Affects My Parenting

Adolescence was a time in my life that I will never forget. Not because it was the most amazing time in my life, but because it was a very difficult one. It’s hard to talk about, but today I’m sharing how being a geeky kid affected me and how it affects my parenting.

How Being a Geeky Kid Affects My Parenting

Growing up in Coquitlam (just outside Vancouver) was tough. My school only had two South Asian girls, one of them being me. I also sported glasses, hair on my arms and a bit of a moustache. I looked different and kids were mean to me because of that, especially the girls. They would make fun of how I dressed, the food I ate, they wouldn’t let me play hopscotch with them and they talked behind my back.

Growing Up as the “Geeky Kid.”

When elementary school was over and I changed schools for grade 8, I tried to change myself in hopes of being ‘normal’ so people wouldn’t mock me and maybe I would have some more friends. I got contact lenses, waxed my moustache and got new clothes. It worked for a while. Girls were nicer to me and I was making friends, with the popular girls! But I couldn’t forget the past. My fears, insecurities and inner geeky kid held me back from discovering the full potential of who I could be and what I could do.

I wanted to join the basketball team, but I was afraid I wouldn’t be good enough. I wanted to try out for the school fashion show, but I thought I wasn’t pretty enough. I wanted to be involved in a school production but I thought others would laugh at me.

Home was my haven. When I would come home from school, hurt and sad from the kids being mean to me, my mother would wrap me up in her warmth and say things to make me feel better. No mother wants her daughter to feel the way I did.

I also lost myself in books. I realize now that my appetite for reading was probably so big  because it allowed me to get lost in another world, a place that was different than where I was. But it only pushed away the reality until I finished the book.

Today, even though my insecurities may pop up once in a while, I am a different person than I was as a young girl.  As a parent, I want to make sure my children never feel the way I did. I want them to grow up feeling confident in themselves, their abilities and the people around them.

How Being a Geeky Kid Affects My Parenting

Even though I know this may happen, I still don’t want my kids to come home from school sad or crying because other kids were mean to them. I don’t want them to pretend to be sick so that they can stay home from school. I want them to love books because reading can be an amazing new adventure with each new book, not because they want to escape a their life. I want them to feel like they can do anything and try anything they want, because that’s how life should be.

Some of the things that are important to me and that I’ve learned after growing up as a “geeky kid” are:
Building Self-Esteem in Children
Teaching Kids to Have a Positive Body Image
Talking to Kids About Bullying 
Preventing Emotional Eating 

22 thoughts on “How Growing Up as a Geeky Kid Affects My Parenting

  1. Hey sis, amazing how much I just learned by reading this post – thanks for sharing, I’m sure it wasn’t easy!

  2. Thanks for sharing. I think many women can relate, particularly those of us who are first generation Canadians. I also think, these are some of the experiences that make us a little stronger and a little more courageous.

  3. Great post — thanks for opening up so much. I can relate, as I’m sure many women can. I too am scared of my children losing their innocence because other kids are mean to them….it makes me so scared and I just hope I can instill confidence in them before it happens, so that they know how to deal with it.

    1. Thanks Farin. I’m with you when it comes to the kids, hopefully we can bring up our kids with lots of positivity and confidence and all the traits they need to have good childhood experience and the tools to deal with whatever comes their way.

  4. Thanks for sharing that story with us Salma. It totally reminded me of my childhood. I went through similar experiences and feelings and can really understand where your coming from when you say you don’t want your kids to go through that. You sharing your experience allows other people to be able to relate and recognize that they aren’t the only ones who went through that. Also it shows people that we don’t have to allow our past to define who we are today. Thanks!

  5. I so relate! Thank you for being vulnerable. I loved how you presented the different perspectives- child, loving mother, adult who is now a loving mother. Kudos!

  6. i can relate salma – junior high was horrible for me – and as someone who hung out with you in university i always saw you as one of the “cool girls” so there you go 😉

    1. I am beginning to realize that this was something many people dealt with so we are not alone! And thanks for thinking of me as one of the ‘cool girls’ lol. 🙂

  7. I can totally relate to this post Salma. I was the girl with a unibrow, big hair, braces and glasses. I went through the same thing. I was teased a lot and I still find myself feeling awkward when I am around women like that. I am still extremely self conscious and don’t take complements well at all. I am trying not to pass this along to Aiden. I want him to be proud of who he is and to not be afraid to be himself. I also delved deep into books. It was my shelter, my sanctuary. I still will do that when I find myself in a bad place.

    Thank you for your honesty. It’s hard and it hurts. I just hope that things will be different for our children. This all starts at home sadly and many kids don’t have positive role models in their parents.

    You are beautiful inside and out.

    Agi:)

    vodkainfusedlemonade.com

    1. Really?! I would never have guessed that Agi, you are so beautiful and always well put together. I guess we never know about people as children. You seem to be doing an amazing job with Aiden and I hope I can do the same with my kids. Thank you for your lovely words.

  8. Salma, I have known you first as a confident producer & tv co-host, then as a gracious Mom & blogger. Now I am even more inspired by your journey in life. Often in life we get the teachers we need rather than the ones we hoped for. You have a beautiful & rich life and a strong backbone to get you through the ups and downs of motherhood, marriage & all the rest of it. Here is a sign off our old boss Mr. Lovelace frequently used: onwards & upwards. Be well sunshine.

  9. Hi Salma,

    As a first-generation Canadian I can totally relate as so many people have voiced her. Adolescence is a challenging time for anyone. And it’s funny how so much stays with us from that time. I’m so glad G Day exists for girls now and I hope that by sharing our experiences with our children we can teach them to love themselves for who they are.

  10. Can totally relate to this, Salma. I often think about how mine and Vishnu’s childhood experiences will impact our parenting. Love your perspective! And there ain’t nothing wrong with being a geek/nerd!! 🙂

  11. Each phase of life brings its own insecurities and somehow we learn ways to deal with them. I really enjoyed the article – took me back to my school days!

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