I’d be proud to have a child who is immature and needs lots of supervision, rather than a mature child who is neglected.
by Kay Marner
Natalie’s birthday is coming up. She’s about to turn eight. Although I know I shouldn’t compare my two kids, I can’t help but do so sometimes. I honestly think Natalie’s about as mature as Aaron was at age five. And that, at five, Aaron was light years ahead of where Natalie is now in reading and math.
There was a letter to the editor in the Tribune, our daily paper, the other day, which prompted me to think about how children mature at different rates. A grandmother, who evidently cares for her grandson five days a week during the summer, complained that the pool in Slater, Iowa, won’t allow her grandson to spend afternoons there unsupervised, even though she believes he’s mature enough to handle it.
She didn’t state his age, but implied he was 7 or 8. Her solution was to drive him to a pool in Nevada, Iowa, maybe 15-20 miles away, and drop him off for the day, a couple times each week. They’re perfectly happy to take her money, she says. The Nevada pool reportedly allows kids as young as 7 to swim unaccompanied.
Natalie’s about the same age as the grandson, as far as I can tell, and I love taking her to the Nevada pool. But I don’t let her out of my sight! Come to think of it, I wouldn’t leave Aaron at a swimming pool alone, and he’s almost 12!
Reading this letter got me thinking about how children mature at such different rates. Birth order makes a difference, as does parenting style. And, I’m convinced, ADHD makes a difference. After all, developing impulse control, using good judgment, and delaying gratification — being able to wait — are all signs of maturity, and they develop more slowly, if ever, in kids with ADHD.
I’d be proud to have a child who is immature, and needs lots of supervision, rather than a mature child who is neglected.
I love my kids. I’ll do everything in my power to keep them safe as they grow up. No matter how long it takes. And in Natalie’s case, it may take forever!