I have always considered myself a late bloomer. I didn't find my career until I was in my 30's, I didn't get married until that decade either. There are a lot of things I did not do until I was past the average age for many things. I even wrote a play called "Confessions of a Late Bloomer", but that is a story for another day.
I am so surprised when parents say to me, "My child is growing up too fast." When I observe the "child" in question (and there are many, this is not a blog about any specific child), I notice the child has pierced ears, fingernail polish, a facebook account, an i phone, wears extremely short shorts and revealing tops. These are children who are not even in double digits yet. For boys it's more about the language they use. They begin calling each other "Dude", using phrases such as "Wasssup?", talking about violent video games, and TV shows that even though animated are clearly filled with adult content.
So, if we don't want our children to miss out on their childhood, don't start providing items and opportunities that they can work towards. Many philosophers say that play is the highest form of expression in childhood. Yet I see children who are bored on the playground because they are so used to being the passive participant in entertainment. Childhood is a time when children should be out doors, exploring nature, growing gardens, flying kites, hiking, swimming, skating, sledding. Children should be actively engaged in childhood.
- It does go by in the blink of an eye, so why allow a child to do more grown up things? It doesn't hurt to say:
- You can have that when you are 15.
- You can watch 30 minutes of TV, after you ...(play outside, ride your bike, do an art project, build with legos, play with friends, walk the dog, do your homework, do your chores).
- As your parents, we think you are too young for that.
- It doesn't matter to me what your friends have, wear, do...as your parents we will make decisions that are in your best interest.
- Thank you for your input, I understand what you want, what I want is for you to have a childhood that is filled with wonderful memories and magical experiences, so we can save that experience for a later date, now let's bake cookies.