Nicole Knepper">

Stop Copying Me

This article, entitled Stop Copying Me comes from Nicole Knepper, writer of Moms Who Drink and Swear on chicagonow.com.

My daughter and son have both gone through the “stop copying me” phase of life. Meh, who am I kidding - they are still a bit in it, as are their friends, AND IT BUGS ME!

And I’m not talking about mimicking each other just to provoke and annoy. Nope. I’m talking about the irrational and unreasonable complaints that others are trying to be like them. Come to think of it, I know plenty of grown ups who whine about this too, (Ashton Kutcher and Justin Timberlake arguing about who started wearing trucker hats first?) but more so it’s wacky kids.

In my opinion, it is downright ridiculous. What is so wrong with having people copy you? Isn’t imitation a form of flattery? Do people think that similarities take away from a person’s uniqueness and individuality? Because I do NOT think this is true at all - at least not in most situations. So when I hear kids going nuts about this copying business, I ask these questions –

Why do they complain about people copying them and still want to wear all the same clothes as their peers?

Why are certain things deemed “cool” and others “lame” if kids/teens are seeking support for their individuality?

Don’t we all want to fit in?

Don’t we all also enjoy standing out?

Why can’t we all just respect our similarities and differences?

What is wrong with liking the same stuff, dressing alike, etc.? Should clothing stores make every article of clothing one-of-a-kind? If an artist, musician, teacher, etc. finds inspiration in the work of another, is it wrong to say so and to use this inspiration for their own project?

I don’t think so.

Are there any original ideas left?

Why must most kids go through this phase of life?

The last question is one I ask myself, even though I’m pretty sure I know the answer. It’s fear! The simple fear of not being good enough or seen as unique and special is a powerful emotion, sparking defensive exclamations from kids claiming people are somehow infringing on their territory. It’s all a part of growing up and finding their way, trying on styles and attitudes to find a comfy fit.

Growing up is hard.

But for me, knowing the reason doesn’t make it any easier to tolerate, especially when dealing with this back to school mania of shopping for clothes and supplies. I see the uniqueness in my kids and know what they like to wear and eat and read and listen to. I also see them occasionally holding back their uniqueness in favor of fitting in. I loathe it, but not as much as I dislike hearing them or their friends diss another person for doing the same thing, and unfortunately I do hear this crap.

STOP COPYING ME! He is coping me. She is copying me. There are “cool” folders, markers, locker decorations, and clothes. There are “uncool” things, things that scream, “I’m different” or “I like what I like and won’t conform to the norm.” I love and hate seeing this. Year after year after year…

I know everyone is saying this and so I risk being unoriginal and seen as a copycat, but I cannot wait until the kids are back in school all day long. I’ve been through this phase and I can’t really help my kids get through it any faster by telling them it’s a phase and blabbing on and on about what I think. They don’t care! They have to go through it – no way around it and there is no way to make it any less painful. I have to shut my big, ole yap. I must say nothing. I must let them live and learn. I must repeat this mantra so that they can get through this phase in their own way and in their own time.

Being a grown up is hard.



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