So many parents encourage their children to grow up quickly, always seeming to be looking at the next step. We’ve all had those conversations where Mom is questioning if Junior will ever walk/talk/sleep/potty the way another child his age does. As parents we can get so caught up in where they are going, that we don’t enjoy the stage they are in. I think this fosters stress in our kids that doesn’t need to be there.
As they grow older, we don’t seem to become wiser. We allow kids to watch TV shows and movies that were made for adults, to play games that have warning labels and music that is deemed explicit. What is the rush? There is time for this later, if they choose as adults to be entertained in this way.
We have encouraged our children to be little for as long as they can stand it. And to return to little as often as they want. We kept these forms of entertainment out of reach as long as possible, often getting push-back from our children, not understanding why they cannot do things their friends have been allowed to for years. And yet, when they make a good case for some new form of freedom, we strongly consider it. Instead of giving it to them when we thing they are ready, we have taught them to intentionally think about what they want, then to justify it and ask for it. Sometimes repeatedly, for months.
It’s not as much about giving them permission to grow up as it is about giving them permission to stay little for a while longer.