8 Keys to Raising the Quirky Child

In 8 Keys to Raising the Quirky Child: How to Help a Kid Who Doesn’t (Quite) Fit In, part of Norton’s 8 Keys to Mental Health series, author Mark Bowers shares practical tips for identifying, assessing, and helping the quirky child succeed. With his wealth of knowledge and experience from his years as a pediatric psychologist, Bowers offers a confident, parent-friendly approach to appreciating a child’s unique traits — and working with them rather than against them.

Bowers first guides parents through the process of identifying a child’s particular traits. Parents of quirky children often recognize that their child differs from others, but may have trouble pinpointing which behaviors are “normative,” as Bowers prefers to say, and which are more unique. For example, quirky children are often “depth-seekers,” and will talk exhaustively (and knowledgeably) about a single subject.

To an adult who spends little time with other kids, the quirky child may simply appear to be overly intelligent, with a typical childhood obsession for a subject (trains, for example). To a quirky child’s peers, however, such behavior quickly stands out. Combine depth-seeking behavior with trouble socializing, emotional outbursts at transition times, and strong reactions to sensory experiences such as tastes and textures, and you’ve got the profile of a quirky child.