Letting Them Grow

Young actors light up stage in Missoula Childr...

Young actors light up stage in Missoula Children’s Theatre production – FMWRC – US Army – 100823 (Photo credit: familymwr)

One thing I have learned over the years is children grow up.  As parents, we don’t always want that to happen.  Of course there are those times when we want to ring their necks and we can’t wait for them to grow up but over all we have a tendency to try and hold on to our children and think of them as a baby as long as we can.  I was like that with my first child.  She is now 20 and engaged to be married.  I realized quickly though I had to treat her like her age but she also had the responsibility to act her age as well.  My son is now 18 as of 30 Sep and I have always did my best to treat him like his age no matter what age he was and not think of him as that little baby.  I try very hard to do the same for my soon to be 15 yr old daughter and my 15 yr old step son and soon to be 10 yr old step daughter.

Children are very impressionable.  They will act the way they are treated and allowed to act and they will do what they are allowed to get away with.  What a 4 yr old can get away with doing because he is 4 and doesn’t know better a 10 year old can’t or at least shouldn’t.

I have gotten a lot of flack over this by people more than once when the question has been asked if a child should still be allowed to do this or that now that they are older and I have said no.  The attack has always been let them be kids, don’t make them grow up.  You know what?  I agree.  I never said they should act 21 or 32.  I think people misinterpret what I am saying.  I’m not saying they should act like adults, I’m saying they should act their age.  If they are 10 then they should act 10 not 3.  If they are doing something a 3 yr old would do but a normal 10 yr old wouldn’t be then they need to learn to stop.  The older you get the more responsibilities you have.  That is just a fact of life.  We shouldn’t excuse them of those responsibilities because we don’t want them to “grow up”.  If we do then we are only hurting them and when they are ready to be on their own they won’t know what to do or how to be self-reliant because they have always had mommy and daddy there to do everything for them, tell them everything they need to know, or allowed to act how ever they wanted.

No one wants their kids to grow up.  We all want them to be successful when they do though.  So let’s give them that chance to be successful.  Quit treating them like they are younger than what they are and force them if we have to, to act their age, no matter how SMALL or SILLY the infraction may seem.  Even if what they are doing isn’t hurting anyone if it’s not appropriate for a 13 yr old then we should be there to stop them and show them correctly how to act for their age. 

What are your thoughts on this?


11 thoughts on “Letting Them Grow

      1. Shannygirl

        Well I know you think I baby my kids.. especially Shelby.. but she is my baby.. I wasnt blessed with 3 kids and I know I’ll never have another baby so yes.. I will baby her.

        1. radaronelson Post author

          And by doing so I feel she is growing up thinking it is okay to act like one. I think that is why they throws their fits and badger you until they get their way too. I don’t want you treating her like your baby when she is 40 like my mother does me.

          1. Shannygirl

            A) I’m not your mother.. B) She’s only 9.. it’s not like she’s an adult…C) I’ve spoiled them.. I know I have but they’ve had a pretty tough life.. unlike your 3 that have been privileged to everything they want..

  1. shoes

    I agree. I quite often catch myself enabling my 6 year old and not giving him the chance to act his age. Kids thrive on being given some independence and some decision making and this is something I need to continually remind myself.

    1. radaronelson Post author

      I agree and unfortunately even though they want that if you treat them differently they will come to expect that as well. Thank you so much for your input.

  2. Sex, Spirit, Soul Mates and Chocolate....Ivonne's Journey

    Okay, to get more specific. My sister has three kids twins age 16 and one 18. These kids are high school and one just entered colllege. My sister and her husband did everything for these kids–I mean doing it for them because they never thought they were old enough to handle responsibility. Adn now they are teenagers and are expecting the kids to be able to do for themselves and yet these kids can’t because they have not been trained to do so. So, in terms of emotionally development they are behind other kids their age.

    I believe it is the job of parents to raise children that will be socially functioning adults. Yes, you allow them to be kids and enjoy childhood but at the same time you give them responsibilities to teach them to be adults. We have to train children to become adults, adults don’t just happen when they turn 18. Sadly, this has been the case for my niece and two newphews. Their parents have done them a disservice. My poor nephew could not even find a summer job because he was not skilled enough socially.

    This is what happens when you baby your kids too much. I have seen it in my own family.

    I believe good parenting is a fine balance between giving to your kids and allowing them the space to grow up.

    Just my 2 cents worths.

    We live in a society where kids feel entitled to everything without earning it.



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