I'm afraid that we've become a society that rushes our kids. We rush their childhood by chasing after arbitrary milestones instead of focusing on the bigger picture. In situations where my girls are struggling with complex emotions or tough decisions, I don't always have the patience to go at their pace; I want them to showcase maturity and be able to figure it out quickly. We want our kids to memorize the alphabet when they "should", sleep through the night when they "should", complete difficult math problems when they "should", and so many other developmental milestones. We live in a world that prides itself on full schedules, accomplishment, and speed, and I'm afraid it has infiltrated our parenting. As adults, many of us don't know how to sit with our emotions without numbing them (with busy schedules, TV, food, etc.) and therefore we have a hard time teaching our kids to sit with theirs. We are too stuck in our ways to learn new things and too busy to spend time really problem solving, which means our kids may struggle in these areas. I also know that the comparison game is very real when it comes to parenting.
Wow, their kids are reading those books already?
Her fine motor skills are way farther along than my child.
I wish my kids weren't as loud as theirs.
His daughter isn't as emotional as mine.
Their kids are in two sports! Maybe mine should be in more.
And the list goes on.
What should matter to me is that my girls are empathetic and compassionate.
That they are eager and willing to learn.
That they can solve problems and know how to think through situations.
That they're confident in themselves and love who they are.
And that they know mistakes lead us toward growth and emotions shouldn't be stuffed down or ignored.
I don't want my children to miss out on learning from mistakes, or dreaming, or being silly or imaginative, or following their passions all because I have a box full of maturity, responsibility, performance, success, and development that I want them to fit into.
And I don't want that box for myself either.