Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Growing up is hard to do

What a lot of insightful comments regarding maturity! Maybe it wasn't fair that I didn't define maturity, but I feel like most of you were thinking along the same lines I was... being able to accept responsibility for one's actions and life, learning that life is more than just doing homework and playing games. Thumper stated it well when she said that today's kids may have a broader knowledge base, but that doesn't translate into maturity. Donna mentioned sheltering our kids, which I think goes along with Caltechgirl's and James' comments on parents protecting kids from consequences. In general, I believe that a lot of parents have reduced the responsibilities of their growing children to the bare minimum.... schoolwork. Household and family responsibilities get absorbed either by the weekly maid or the mom. Or if there are household responsibilities, we are either wishy-washy about enforcing these, or we keep our standards low... never really teaching our kids about the value of work well done. Jettybetty has a point when she says that today's kids are postponing some of the milestones of maturity (moving out, marriage). I would agree with her that that's not a bad thing. I suppose what I was trying to get at is that I think in generations past, we began instilling the idea of responsibility, giving opportunities to practice responsibility, training and rewarding responsibility... all these things... we did this much earlier in our children's lives than we do now. You may laugh, but think back to the days of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Ma and Pa could leave Mary and Laura at home with baby Carrie while they went into town, and come home to a tidy cabin and perhaps even some dinner cooked. Today, few of us will let our kids turn on an electric oven, much less light a fire in a fireplace! Somewhere along the line, we've underestimated what our kids can handle. We've stopped expecting them to accept and learn responsibility and taken on a lot of things they could be doing/experiencing on ourselves. I think Shane really put it well when he said that maturity has become an option, and that societal roles are vague for kids. We've blurred the lines between childhood/adolescence/adulthood.

So... them there's my thoughts. Not terribly eloquent, but my thoughts nonetheless.

7 comments:

DJG said...

Me thinks you said it very well...

mar said...

I wonder about this issue too because I have a 17yr-old, thinking I was way more "mature" at the same age...But maybe it is the life perspective or my own expectation. Interesting topic, visiting via Michele's today.

Eyes said...

I agree with you completely. Children are much smarter than they are even given credit for! It's disheartening...

Tara said...

Great comments. I find I have to remind myself to let my 11 year old do more. I was cooking dinner at that age. She does fold laundry better than me, though.

Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Here from Michele's.

Yep them kids are amazing at times. My three-year-old is learning to read. I can't wait to get her to do chores ;-)

On the other hand, my wife has a story of meeting a woman who has three nannies, does not know what her kids eat, and was upset when one of the nannies wanted to go home to take care of her sick mother.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

Here from Michele...Very interesting questions. Part of what is difficult I think is that no matter how old one is in years, there is the part that remains a child...not always childish, but child-like, hopefully! Parenting ain't easy at all, is it! Glad I stopped by Karen.

ribbiticus said...

if there's one thing i know, it's that kids can pick up stuff easily. it's the guidance given them that determines how they turn out.

michele sent me today. :)

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