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Trickle Down Maturity 

Our kids are unfinished people. We have to remember that they are not miniature adults. They are going to stumble in all categories at one time or another. Strong moral character, resolve, independence- these are things we want our kids to have, but we have to be patient as they stumble through hard life lessons and difficult situations. They need to experience hardship, and they will learn from it if they feel they have supportive adults and a somewhat stress-free environment to process and reflect, sometimes internally, sometimes with a trusted adult. It can be the best gift to give a child when you don't jump in and fix a situation, but you hand the problem back to the child along with empathy, support, and unconditional positive regard. They might not get it right, but they will start to own their actions more and more, and they will grow.


I do want to take this somewhat radical stance: Kids don't get much from their peers at this age. The growth they are going to experience as a person will be the result of "trickle-down" maturity. Maturity doesn't move horizontally from one child to another. They have to see how older people (parents, relatives, teachers, coaches) handle situations. If they are leaning too hard on their peers or peer culture for things like acceptance, nurturing, support, then they might be missing those things from an adult. Don't let peers replace you. Friendship is a wonderful thing for kids, but it should be about fun and joy. It is the sweetest thing to watch kids be kind to each other and build friendship. That is good for kids. But when a child is dealing with tough life circumstances, we don't want them seeking out friends in lieu of trusted adults, for the simple reason that children are not ready to support each other on that level. We want to coach them to empathize and show kindness of course, and build their skill in supporting one another, but a parent or trusted adult should be holding the reigns while the ability for kids to support each other grows. 

Reach out if you want to talk more on this or any other topic. Thanks for reading!


Posted by Jason.Adams@boiseschools.org On 12 July, 2019 at 2:20 PM