“Too many people grow up. That’s the real trouble with the world, too many people grow up. They forget. They don’t remember what it is like to be 12 years old. They patronize, they treat children as inferiors. Well, I won’t do that.”
I often hear parents saying to their children, “I wish you would just grow up.” I often pause when I hear that phrase because that is not what I really think they mean to say.
I have been striving to keep my children being children in a tide that sometimes seem overwhelming. Pictures of pre-teen girls in cut off shorts with the phrase – “It is all about the short shorts” greeted us on a shopping trip this spring. My 11 year-old daughter and my 8 year-old son know unless it is a rated G movie there is probably no chance for them to see it.
I didn’t even allow them to watch most Disney movies until they were 6 or 7. Every single movie, except Mary Poppins and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, have an evil villan. Yes, there are mean people in life but why expose them to such things at a young age. I want to protect them and show them the good things in life and not be jaded by life by the time they are teenagers.
I remember vividly the first time my daughter ran across her first mean child. She was almost 5 and we were at a McDonald’s Play Place. She was running and playing when suddenly she came back to the table and sat down. When we questioned this she told us that another older child told her she wasn’t allowed in the climbing structure. Of course we sent her back up there with coaching on what to say and do. I want my children to be children but not door mats for others. But, this made me sad because she suddenly realized all people were not kind, open and willing to share as she always thought.
Maybe I am Pollyanna-ish in my hopes that letting my children be children as long as they can will help them in the long run but I really don’t think it can hurt.