Are Children Growing Up Too Fast for Parents to Catch Up?

1:33 AM

I got a sudden jolt of realism last December while buying my 9 year old daughter's Christmas dress. Nothing fits her anymore in the children's section and we had to go to the teens section. I felt a sudden panic. Did I miss something even if I was literally with my child everyday or are children nowadays simply growing up too fast for parents to catch up?

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Physical Growth

Children today are generally taller, bulkier, and sturdier compared to their contemporaries of decades ago. Even then, I still can't get over the fact that I now have to go to the teens section when shopping for my 9 year old daughter. No wonder she had so many clothes in her closet but nothing to wear. I thought it was just a girl thing when she starts wailing "Mama, I have nothing to wear" but I cannot be more mistaken. I don't know if it's the food children eat, the vitamins, or is it a genetic thing that is responsible for this growth spurt.

When we sorted out her clothes, she barely had twelve pieces of clothing that still fit her comfortably. All the rest were either tight or short. I did the same thing with my son's clothes as well as mine and my husband's. After finishing my sorting, I think I am ready to hold a garage sale so that these things that are not used anymore will not take up space any minute more than necessary. 

Emotional Maturity

Are children maturing emotionally earlier than they should? Many start acting like adults in the way they dress up and they talk. Some even have views that used to be perceived only to be possessed by full-grown adults. There seems to be so much pressure for children to know more about the facts of life even before they are prepared to tackle them. 

The environment has much to do with the pressure. There is that dangerous mentality that something must be okay if many people are doing it. The realities of family life has also much to do with with the early maturity of many children who have responsibilities to work or take care of a younger sibling. Psychologists are looking very closely on the connection of not being allowed to be children to the so-called problem behavior.

Slow Down the Process

It is impossible for parents to stop time and stop their children's growth. Any responsible and loving parent wouldn't want to do that anyway. Parents however can slow down the early maturing process to just pull it back to a leisurely pace where children are simply allowed to be children. There are some very simple ways to do this:

1. Provide age-appropriate clothing to children which are best described in two words: current and comfortable, not trendy and complicated. Allow the children the freedom to accessorize as they see fit so that their individuality shines through as well. 

2. There are certain stages that the parents and other family members will have to loosen their hold on their children. In no instance however should authority or influence be completely given up to peers, social media or the Internet. Family, specifically the parents, will have the continuous responsibility of keeping an eye on their children.

3. Parents will have to give children their time to listen and talk. Friends and media will all have their say. It would be much more difficult for guided children to go astray even with the many temptations in this world.

4. Children do not need to learn everything all at the same time. Parents should not make them. Let them savor the activities they are generally interested in instead of many activities that are dictated by stressful trends and standards.

5. Forgive their mistakes. They are after all still children. Do not transfer parental responsibilities to them. Parents have had their time to be children. They owe the same to their children.

My Say

My parental concerns go far beyond the dress size of my child. They are hinged on the accompanying changes which growing up represents. Something inside my motherly heart was struggling and I will have to prepare myself once again.

That said, after we finished going through her closet, my daughter was already requesting that we rearrange her bedroom which to her had now become too childish. I have no doubts I will be writing about that as well very soon. For now, we have to buy some new clothes for her after our garage sale. Shopping will be an opportune time to talk with my daughter about growing up without being too stressful on both of us.

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