Is my child old enough?

Prienderen Moodley By Prienderen Moodley, 21st Dec 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Family>Parenting

This page addresses the sometimes complex and difficult questions parents need to ask themselves when dealing with older children. In particular, some parents experience difficulty when dealing with teens. It takes a look at how to deal with various aspects of teenagers' development and how it affects the child's behavior, needs and wants and ties it together with which type of parenting may be best suited.

The growing responsibility

How many of us as parents find ourselves tearing our hair and tossing tea cups around the room when dealing with our teen children? I'm willing to bet that it's in the majority rather than the minority. It's never easy when it comes to dealing with teens. There are several issues that need to be dealt with love, subtlety, tact but at the same time a little firmness. These issues include the child's social behaviour or attitude, attitudes or behaviour with regard to schoolwork and school friends, the child's need to keep up with trends as far as fashion, lifestyles as well as technology and certain role models and or peers and friends is concerned and of course how the child deals with the several physical, emotional, psychological, mental and intellectual changes as he or she goes through the stages of child development.

Anything new that the child experiences in connection with the five aspects of development may become overwhelming and even scary to the child so it is vital that the parent get involved here and reassures the child that there is nothing weird or abnormal about what the child is experiencing and in fact it is just part of the life cycle. However this is not what this article is about. This issue will be discussed in detail in a few of my upcoming articles. Let us instead focus on the rate at which the child develops emotionally, psychologically, physically, mentally and intellectually and how it affects whether the child is mature or ready enough to carry out certain social activities without doing harm to his or herself.

Very seldom is the child's physical and emotional and psychological development at the same level, which can cause tremendous embarrassment to the child. If the child is not emotionally and psychologically and mentally mature enough to attend social parties and events it may become necessary to politely deny the child access to these parties until it is certain that he or she can handle them. Failure to take this precaution may lead to the child becoming overwhelmed at the party, may become involved in sexual activity when manipulated by a more experienced and confident member of the opposite sex, may even be talked into doing drugs, alcohol and so on. When a child is not confident of his or herself physically it is easy to manipulate him or her into sex. All it takes is a little bit of flirtation or compliments.

Another thing children like to these days is pierce ears, lips, belly buttons, tongues and eyebrows. Even primary school children are doing it these days. It is all to keep up with the social trends. If they don't do it their peers and friends regard them as uncool and this is an embarrassment that the child will not be able to bear. As much as we can understand why this happens, it is important to bear in mind that primary school children as well as those in junior high are still sweet and innocent and still a child. So what I'm trying to say is that the children must not grow up too quickly - they must give themselves a chance to be what they are ie children. Activities like going out to movies, playing netball, soccer or hanging out at friend's houses or bleaching the hair or trying different types of hairstyles would be the way to go as opposed to piercing belly buttons, wearing layers of makeup and so forth. By no means am I saying that the parent should try to slow down the child's emotional, psychological, mental and intellectual development. What I am saying is that the parent needs to emphasize the need for the child to nurture and bring out the inner child while the child is in the appropriate phase of child development until the child is old enough to carry out activities that are slightly more grown up in nature. Failure to do so may result in the child wanting or longing for child activities or end up exhibiting child-like or immature behaviour at a later stage in his or her development.

All the actions and decisions that parents take is dependent on the personalities and characters of their children. This means that parents should take the time to get to know their children well. Example getting into a serious relationship depends on whether the child can deal with the emotional and mental responsibilities that comes with a relationship and that requires a lot of maturity. Again it needs to be stressed that getting into a serious relationship is a very grown up thing to do and getting into an intense relationship straight away isn't the best practise for the child. It is important to start with a more platonic relationship especially when it's the teen's first few relationships.

So whatever decisions you take dear parents it is important to approach each situation withy the sensitivity and patience that it requires. I wish you all the best with your children.

Here are links to a few of my other atricles:-

Nourishing the heart of a relationship
The short arm of the law
Into the arms of a killer
The outcast of love

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author avatar peachpurple
21st Dec 2012 (#)

wonderful article. Some points taken and will look into them. thanks.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
21st Dec 2012 (#)

Yes being a parent of a teen is hard, thanks for the tips.

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author avatar vpaulose
8th Aug 2013 (#)

Thank you Moodley for this interesting post.

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