It’s no secret that the earlier we can get kids on some sort of developmental curriculum, the better. But are there any downsides to rushing kids through childhood so early? The short answer is yes. In today’s fast-paced world, with a never ending stream of communication and technology, people are forced to operate at ever faster speeds than ever before in order to stay competitive.
However, all this movement and action doesn’t necessarily equate to the best outcomes for our children. When we rush kids through their childhoods, we often lose out on their natural ability to develop self-awareness, independence, and emotional intelligence which just might help them grow into successful adults as opposed to robots programmed by society’s expectations of them.
Here is what you need to know about when it may be time to stop rushing children through childhood in order to keep your child happy and healthy…
When a child is being rushed through their childhood, they are often being encouraged to think of themselves as “bigger than” their siblings and peers. In order to achieve this, kids are often encouraged to become extremely competitive with their peers and are taught to believe that their needs are more important than their siblings.
Some parents may even encourage their children to bully their peers in an effort to “help” them become independent sooner. This can have disastrous effects on a child’s self-awareness because they may become so focused on “being bigger than” their peers that they forget to “be” themselves.
As a result, these children may become incredibly insecure and fearful of being rejected by their peers which can easily spiral into an eating disorder or other mental health issues.
When a child is being rushed through their childhood, they are often being encouraged to become extremely independent before they are ready. Many parents have an idealistic vision of their child growing up and becoming an adult that can’t possibly mesh with the idea of their child needing them forever.
Thus, parents often rush their children through their independence so that they can produce a more independent adult as quickly as possible. Kids, however, are never ready to become independent even when they are old enough to be ready. For most kids, independence comes slowly and in small increments.
They must learn to fend for themselves while remaining safe and secure at the same time. They must learn to take responsibility for their actions while not becoming a total mess during the process. This is a process that most kids are not ready for until they are well into their teenage years.
Some studies have even come to the conclusion that early childhood development programs may have a negative effect on a child’s emotional intelligence. When a child is rushed through childhood and is encouraged to act as if they are an adult, they often forget to teach their child how to express themselves and manage their feelings appropriately.
In turn, young children who are not being given the opportunity to develop their emotions are at a huge disadvantage when it comes to forming healthy relationships as adults.
Help Kids Manage Feelings
As children grow into teenagers and young adults, they are often encouraged to act as if they have no emotions. This is done to teach them that expressing their feelings is a bad thing.
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While this may work for some teenagers, particularly with respect to heavily stigmatized mental health issues, it is often damaging for most kids. Emotional maturity is an important aspect of childhood development.
It is crucial for children to be able to express their feelings when they are hurt, angry, or sad in order to reach an understanding with themselves. A child who is able to do this will be better equipped to handle these feelings and move forward in their life. When a child is being rushed through this process, they are often being encouraged to be emotionally stunted. They are not allowed to feel their feelings or express them. As a result, they are left with a very shallow understanding of themselves and others. They may never be able to properly manage their emotions as they grow into adults.
Help Children Form Relationships
When a child is being rushed through their childhood, they are often being encouraged to form superficial relationships with peers and adults. These relationships are often very short-lived and leave no real mark on the person who is being rushed. In order to make these relationships seem more appealing, a person may encourage their child to act like a more mature person than they actually are.
During adolescence, a child’s capacity to form lasting relationships is much more important than when they are being rushed through their childhood. This is because their friends become their “mini-adults” and their relationships will form the base for their entire adult lives.
When parents allow their children to “grow up too fast,” they run the risk of creating adults with low self-esteem and a fear of being alone. In order to avoid this, parents should allow their children to create “slow, steady” foundations in the world before they are forced to “run” to keep up.
By allowing their children to experience slow, gentle growth, they can be sure that their children are ready for the challenges of adulthood when they arrive. If you are rushing your child through childhood, consider slowing down and allowing them to develop at their own pace. It might be beneficial for you as well to take a step back and view your life as a whole person rather than as a list of tasks to complete.