Below is a chapter from Rule #2: Don’t Be an Asshat: An Official Handbook for Raising Parents and Children. Over time we will be posting most of the book, though, should this inspire you to buy a copy, we would not be offended 🙂 Posted chapters can be found in the Table of Contents.

Rule #4: Welcome the New Kid (Dad)

Back when elementary school was K–6, in sixth grade I switched to a new school. Yep, I was the new kid.

I’ve never been a wallflower, but even so, I remember my relief when a couple of guys invited me to toss the football around during recess. At soccer, school, scouts, or church, being the newest person—unless you are one of those really outgoing people who thrives in these settings—sucks.

Many problems confront you when you’re the new kid: people are judging, you are judging, new personalities surround you, you have no shared experiences to talk about, and relationships between others are naturally stronger. New folks, by the very nature of their newness, are starting at the bottom floor, whereas the rest of the group has had years of climbing the stairs together.

One of the kindest things you can do is to genuinely welcome new kids. This means that you should offer simple and subtle gestures of welcome: invite them to sit with the group, ask them about their interests, introduce them to your friends, and ask them if they need any help finding their classes. Not all folks will be ready to open up and tell you their life stories, but I can almost guarantee you that the gesture, whether or not it is visibly or audibly appreciated, makes a difference.

As hard as it might be to do the welcoming, you know that it’s triply as hard to be the new kid hoping that some kind, any kind, of welcome is offered. Go welcome the new kid.

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