Thursday, 1 December 2016

What is Normal Anyway?

How many times have you heard parents say “my child is a normal developing child.” 

What is normal when it comes to describing children? Is there a normal child? Tantrums are normal, all children have them. But are tantrums normal when they progress to the next level where they just go on and on and on and……..


What does a normal family look like? Two parents, one parent, parents and grandparents, same sex parents. There is no normal. 

The way I see it is that what I see as normal, a loving family, might not be how you see a normal family. It’s all a matter of personal perception.

Who decides what is normal and how did they come to that decision? What made them come to the decision to set standards to determine what is normal and what is not? Why did they come to that decision?

In our household, normal is a cycle on the washing machine! None of us are neuro-typical!

Hearing parents talk about their “normal” children made me start to think. What does normal mean? What are the different definitions of normal?

The definition of normal according to the standard dictionary is that when used as an adjective, normal means conforming to the standard or the common type; usual; not abnormal, regular, natural.

I don't fit that definition, I have never conformed to how people expected me to be. Tell me that I can't do something, and I'll prove to you that I can. I was told in year 11 that girls don't do science. So I went onto University, studied science and worked for the CSIRO developing science sessions to be conducted in schools!


In terms of a psychology definition, normal means free from any mental disorder, sane, approximately average in any psychological trait.

I'm on happy pills, so I don't fit that definition either.

Did you know that the word normal has its origins in Latin, circa 1520 – normalis made according to a carpenter’s square, equivalent to norm! I didn’t, you learn something new every day.

I then found an Urban Dictionary. It says that the word normal is nothing but a word made up by society so they could single out and attack those who are different.

Mmmm, makes you think doesn’t it.


As Truman Capote said in Breakfast at Tiffany’s – “It may be normal darling; but I’d rather be natural.”

I keep telling my little superheroes when they talk to me about being different than their friends – “if you try to be normal all the time, you’ll never know how amazing you can really be. Be yourself, because there is not another person like you. You are unique."

To me “normal” is an ideal but it isn’t reality. Normal points out our failings, our deficits. There is no normal, just peoples perceptions of what they think normal is. Be who you are, don’t let anyone make you feel inadequate for being you. Being normal is overrated.

Be the one who stands out in the crowd, be the one who becomes a leader, be the one who causes change to happen.

Yep, I’m weird but I am proud of my weirdness. I don’t want to be a neuro-typical. I want to be the best version of me.

42 comments:

  1. I totally agree that there is no such thing as a normal family! I think when I got married I really realized how different families can be because we were raised so differently.

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  2. I never described myself as normal I describe my self as special. Everyone in my life is really special lol I enjoy this post

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    1. I don't describe myself as normal either!

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  3. But it's so hard to to not try to find normal.

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    1. It is very hard. L is starting to compare himself to other children in his class and it so hard listening to him when he gets upset about not yet being able to do what they do.

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  4. But it's so hard to stop chasing normal

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  5. I always try to embrace the things that separate us from being normal. We're far from normal and that's what I love about people.

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    1. I look at it that if we were all the same, we'd be very boring. We need to embrace what makes us unique from the next person.

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  6. We are all unique in our own ways. I do not know what normal is for other people but just what it means for my family. people may find us weird but our weirdness is my norm! -Breyona Sharpnack

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    1. I'm at the point that I don't really care what others think, our weirdness is our normal too!

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  7. Love the book recommendations! Thank you for sharing :)

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  8. I think we all hour our own normal so how is it that someone decides that the normal is the same for all??
    come see us at http://shopannies.blogspot.com

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    1. I agree. I get quite frustrated when I'm asked "is that normal behaviour for a child?" There is no normal, but people seem to expect that there is. We have child development milestone checklists at work for different ages - but who decides what needs to be on the checklist? Who decides that at a certain age all children should be doing x, y and z? It just has me puzzled.

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  9. its very hard to not want to be normal in this world

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    1. It is, I think at some point we just need to let go and accept that who we are is who we are. We need to be ourself to be happy.

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  10. I love the description Urban Dictionary gave to "normal". Everyone has their own definition of normal, which means that someone will always stand out and be considered 'not normal'.

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  11. Normal is overrated. Functional not so much.

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    1. Definitely overrated. all I want for my children is that they able to function and navigate this crazy world.

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  12. I've never related with the word normal. I feel like I've always been a bit different but to be honest I can't really think of anyone who can fit into a normal box.

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    1. I see uniqueness in every child that I work with. No two children are the same!

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  13. Love this post and it's so true! The classification "normal" doesn't really mean anything but is just a way to make people buy into the idea. I love that quote, I'd rather be natural too! Thanks for sharing!

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  14. Honestly, I don't really think the word normal is applicable when it comes to kids. That's just to discriminatory and degrading. All kids are different and even if they do not have special needs they're still going to progress and develop at their own pace.

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    1. I completely agree. There is no normal when talking about children. I know that L and O will get there, they will achieve their dreams. And there are particular areas now where they are overtaking other children. It doesn't make them better than others, it just makes them different. Different is good.

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  15. lovely post. I don't describe myself as normal. We all are different someways.

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    1. And that is what makes this world so wonderful, our differences.

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  16. So agree!!! No such thing as a normal family!!!!! I leaned this with my daughter. With her speech delay and not meeting milestone "ontime"!because of it, made me realize that normal doesn't exist lol

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  17. Normal should be what feels comfortable in your household. I think people use this word to make other people believe their child and household is perfect.

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  18. I personally think everyone has their own definition of normal, there is no real definitive normal. Great post! Very thought provoking!

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  19. There are guidelines of course, but each child is beautifully unique and their own little person.

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    1. Exactly, our differences make us unique.

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  20. i've never known normal. my family isn't normal...my friends are far from normal. i'm definitely not normal.

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  21. When I'm in a crowded place,I look around at everyone,
    and I just feel like everyone is pretending.
    If anyone does or says anything out of the ordinary,
    it's like the world stops. That why I like hanging out with kids.
    They make their own rules.

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