No one ever said growing up is easy by any means.
Simply put–Growing Up is Hard to Do–at any age.
See when you are the one in the process of growing up, you wouldn’t be able to see the forest through the proverbial growing trees.
However, when it is over and you do come out the other side, you thank god. Plus, you hope and pray that it is indeed over.
But when it is your own kid that is showing the beginning signs of growing up, you get magically transported back to a different time and place. See in the blink of an eye you are back to the days of braces, bad haircuts, acne, hormonal outbursts and more from your own youth.
Still, I thought I had time before this growing up phenomenon would occur with my own kids.
But sadly, I was mistaken as I am beginning to see the handwriting on the wall with my oldest.
While we were recently sitting and reading together, she told me that another young girl her age has a cell phone. Also, this girl actually brings it to school to use it.
I must admit, this admission definitely didn’t sit well with me. I also found myself repeating the words I heard in my younger years from my own mother. See you might have even heard them from your own mom. They were, “Well, you aren’t (this girl) and I am not her mom. So, just because she has a phone doesn’t mean you will be getting a phone anytime soon.”
A few nights later, the same child, around bedtime wasn’t getting her way. So what does she do? She actually began to imitate my words and then my husband’s, as well under her breath.
I nearly lost my cool on this and bedtime became less then pleasant that evening.
As she laid down in protest in her bed, we got asked cooly and rudely, “Are you going to say sorry to me now?”
Let’s just say, this mom’s head almost exploded upon hearing that request.
But still it got me thinking.
How is it possible that I am getting this behavior? How is she actually growing up before my very eyes?
I admit I was snarky and definitely a handful, but not at 6 nor at 10 or even at 13.
My mother will gladly even back me up on this. Even a during a recent conversation, my mom confirmed that my mouthy behavior admittedly didn’t commence until I was well into my teen years.
Plus, I also never questioned my mother’s actions nearly as much as my own child does mine.
I am not sure if it was out of respect. Or at least fear of what would happen if I did indeed disobey my mother.
However, I can attest that I would never have dare dreamed of questioning my parents. Plus, I definitely wouldn’t have spoken to them the way my 6 year did to my husband and I.
Still what is happening overall to make children act as if they are older at a much earlier ages?
Something is essentially different now with my girls than when I was a kid over 30 years ago at the same age.
I’ll put technology aside. Still I do think is a major factor now. I mean this is a stark difference from my days as a kid in the 70s and 80s. See we didn’t even have computers. Also we only had very primitive video games, as well as 5 major TV network channels.
At my older daughter’s age, I only attended kindergarten for a half day. She attended a full day of kindergarten.
In kindergarten, I wasn’t learning to read, to write, or yet perform simple math with addition/subtraction. Plus, I most definitely didn’t get homework. But conversely, my oldest could write her full name and all her letters in upper and lowercase. She also was very much reading, did do math with simple addition/subtraction, and even did homework all week long.
As a former teacher, I am aware that homework does have its merits with helping to foster and practice what kids have learned in school. But sadly I feel that the amount, as well as what is expected of young children overall to learn at much earlier ages in in the last few years with the Common Core Curriculum is overwhelming for kids and parents, too.
Recently, I read an article about an elementary school in NYC that has pretty much put a stop on giving young kids homework. This article cited that there is “no link between elementary school homework and success in school”. Also, it only leads to “children’s frustration and exhaustion, lack of time for other activities and family time and, sadly for many, loss of interest in learning” Furthermore, they have concluded that it was more important for elementary school students to perform activities that “have been proven to have a positive impact on student academic performance and social/emotional development, such as reading at their own pace and playing”.
Yet, the parents of these kids were outraged. They were even pulling their kids from this school.
Again this former teacher and now parent, was really flabbergasted by these parents’ reaction. See I am truly in opposition to their sentiments. Why? Because I think that this elementary school may just be onto something. Again, I am indeed aware of the pros and cons of homework.
See in most households now, both parents have to work to make ends meet. Our home isn’t the exception to this rule. Yet when I was a similar age to my older daughter, my father was the bread winner. Plus, my mother was able to stay home with us.
Even though, I don’t work outside the home, I work full time at home as a freelance writer/designer. Also my husband works full-time for a major fortune 500 company. On top of this I still take care of my family. Also my husband does his best to do his part, too. But somedays, sadly it may just not be enough.
In my own youth not only was family time more of a daily norm, but so too was playing outdoors with neighborhood friends. See this where I learned to first socialize with my peers. See conversely extracurriculars, such as soccer clubs, gymnastics, dance and more weren’t at all the norm by any means for me as a kid.
However meanwhile my daughter is in soccer, dance and has been begging me to try gymnastics classes. Yet her outdoor playing is almost non-existent. Plus most youngsters her age are also involved in all sorts of extracurriculars leaving these same kids with little to no free time to socialize outside of these settings.
So, the time that is allotted for kids to just enjoy themselves or even actual family fun time is at a minimal.
Therefore, I applaud this one school for their unpopular decision. But see it isn’t only schools that need to stand up against this. Moreover, it is parents also who need to stand tall to advocate that their children be expected less at such early ages.
However might be societal evolution at its finest, but still why the overall push to make our kids grow up faster?
The fact, once again, remains that growing up is at the very least hard to do. Plus, adulthood is anything but a barrel full of laughs daily. So the question still remains. Once again why are kids in such a rush to grow up, as well as society so ready to help make this more of a reality?
Therefore it is simple in my eyes.
Kids should not only enjoy this time, but be allowed to be just that – kids.
Power to the kids being kids.
Also power to the parents, who raise them to just let them be kids while they still can.
Sounds like a bumper sticker and at the very least pretty simple to me.
What do you think?
Do today’s kids have a fighting chance to be just kids?
How do you think parents can help their kids not growing up faster then they have to?
This article was inspired an article over at The Deliberate Mom on “What Today’s Children Really Need” furthering the discussion of this most and relevant important topic.
A version of this post also appeared with permission on Mamapedia.