peer; pressure; body; image; feelings; cool; attitude;
What is 'cool'?
Many kids have asked how they can be 'cool'.
Being an 'older' person myself and so definitely not cool (except my son's friends think I'm not bad and my son thinks I'm cool... sometimes), I thought I'd better ask some kids what they thought about being cool.
I got lots of different answers, but eventually we came up with these ideas. Being 'cool' is about:
- the way you look
- the way you talk
- the way you act
- the way you feel about yourself
- the way you interact with others.
way you look
It's important to most kids that they look pretty much like the other kids in their class. Of course that's no problem if everyone at your school has to wear a school uniform and the school decides what kinds of clothes, shoes, jewellery (if any) you can wear and how you wear it.
It can get complicated if your school doesn't have a uniform, or in your life outside school.
If you are with a group who have lots of money and go in for designer labels and shoes, you can still get 'the look' by wearing similar cheaper versions. If anyone tries teasing you, then they are not acting 'cool'. Check the topic Being teased for some ideas on what to do.
It is still 'cool' to be a bit different.
It is always cool to look and smell clean. See 'Personal hygiene - taking care of your body' for more about this.
You don't have to talk all the time, but you do need to talk. How will anyone know what a great kid you are if you don't say a word?
Talk about movies, TV shows, books, sport... You can soon find out what is popular with the other kids by listening to them, and then join in.
You also need to listen to others and not be thinking about what you will say while they are talking.
Be an active listener.
- Look at the person talking
- Make 'listening' noises, eg 'uh huh', say 'yes' or 'no' in the right places.
- Ask questions and make comments.
Our topic on Shyness - are you shy? may help if you find it hard to socialise.
way you act
Be confident and friendly. Smile when you see someone. Help others. Join in and do your best. Even if you are no good at sport, other kids will still want you on the team if you do your best and you don't get upset or blame others if you don't play well.
you feel about yourself
If you feel good about yourself, then other people will want to be with you.
You know that voice in your head that you can hear sometimes? Take charge of what it is saying to you.
If you let it say things like, "I'm no good at this, no-one will want to be my friend, I look like a dork, etc." then you will feel bad about yourself and this will discourage others from wanting to hang out with you
(If you feel bad about yourself lots of the time, tell mum or dad, or your teacher.)
If your self-talk is telling you things like, "I want to try this, I know about that, I can do this, or I'll do better next time", then others sense this too and will be attracted to you.
way you interact with others
The most important thing you can be is yourself. It's just too hard to pretend to be someone else all the time, and other kids soon catch on to the 'fake' you.
No-one likes to be around kids who show off all the time, are always in trouble, pretend they are grown-up, or are friendly one minute and mean the next.
some kids think about being cool
These are some of the things kids thought were cool...
- if you think you're cool, you are
- having a sense of humour
- being able to laugh at yourself
- having friends
- being friendly and nice to people
- being yourself
- joining in.
I asked who they thought was cool and why:
- "Lucas and his group because they always stick together"
- "My friends because we know each other well"
- "Josh's group because they're funny"
- "People who get on well together"
- "People who have fun without hurting others"
- "I think Francesca is cool because she is funny and very fit" - Nikki
- "Best friends are cool because they play together, communicate, share and help each other" - Jeremy
- "Sophie because she is a good friend" - Thomas
- "Samantha because she never lets you down" - Sophie
How you can be cool
Some kids came up with these ideas, which may help you to be 'cool'...
|What's cool-------------------- and what's not|
||Being a 'try hard'|
||Not talking to others|
|Having a mind of your own
||Always getting into trouble|
||Smoking or glue sniffing|
|Reading books like Harry Potter
|Getting work done and helping others
||Mucking around when you should be doing your work|
||Lying to your friends|
|Respect for property
||Stealing or hiding people's stuff|
||Swearing or being gross|
|Caring about others
||Teasing and bullying|
Can you think of any more?
Did you notice that these kids thought that being yourself, being friendly and caring about others and their property were more important than all the other stuff that we all thought being cool was about?
"Fitting in with the group and having friends are very important for anyone. Sometimes movies give the idea that being cool is about looking trendy, pretending to be really laid back and being unkind to 'uncool' kids.
This is just movie stuff. In the real world, most kids want to feel good about themselves, have friends, be interested in the world around them, have fun and look after each other.
Now that's cool!"
Looking at family photos
Can be lots of fun.
What was cool in your parent's day
Now looks overdone!
But just you wait 'til you've got kids
And they ask you what was cool
Back in the 'olden days'
When you were a kid at school.
What you wear doesn't matter
Kids won't think you're a fool
If you act just like yourself
So, be friendly, kind and COOL!
We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.