I am a very opinionated individual. Ask any of my family members. They'll be GLAD to tell you! An acquaintance of mine posted a link to a report on Youthful Tendency Disorder. Here's the link and my response:
Omword! Seriously? I love the fact that my 5 year old has a "disconnect" with reality. I dance with her in the rain, hop over the white parking stripes, run shadow-to-shadow...I break down 3-step jobs into tiny pieces for my hyper 8 year old. We play together and enjoy life together. Isn't that what God wants? For us to take care of our children? To grow them according to His Way? Doesn't He delight in us and dance over us with singing and rejoicing?
I think the break with reality is in the parents' heads. They're parents! Stop being so responsible that you can't laugh when your child runs over and says "Chicken Butt!" (Which may be inappropriate to us but is so funny for them to hear. And some of them do it just to get a reaction from us!) I was coloring in 1st grade - and getting my hand spanked with a ruler if I used my left hand instead of my right. However, my kindergartener HATES to color so we're stacking blocks, looking at letters everywhere, coming up with silly rhymes, etc. and encouraging her education through a more hands-on approach than a "hands-off".
What breed of adult are we creating when we tell a 4 year old to "grow up"?
We know the psychiatrist is right. Children play to learn how to deal with reality. They have to process what they've learned, experienced, felt and done throughout the day. I know for me, personally, if I have to stick to a strict routine, being force-fed information (work and researching curriculum, comparing publishers and available textbooks/workbooks), my brain goes into overload. I can either lay down & take a nap or get up and play with my kids. The one recharges my body. The other recharges my soul.
And maybe I'm just different, but for my autistic cousin, who is only 3 weeks older than my 8 year old, if I take a few minutes to engage in his fantasy play, I can get him to follow directions a lot better than when I get mad at him and grow frustrated. They pick up on our moods and affections.
Is there a true malady? Or is this just another way of adults feeling better about themselves because they've completely forgotten how to play? How to kick back and relax, just enjoy life?
Do we need to teach responsibility to our children? Absolutely. Do we need to teach them to squelch their creativity? Horror fills my voice as I yell "NO!" I love reading CoM's plays and stories, watching her design and create something from my scraps. I love to listen to LB sing her songs, watching her dance and march to a beat only she can hear. I dread the day that she no longer creates or performs because someone told her to grow up and she's not good enough.
Parents, where have you failed in this today? Or where have you succeeded? I'm not perfect. I had a terrible headache all day. I took some medicine but ended up yelling at the girls because they were yelling at each other. As soon as the medicine kicked in, LB took me for a walk. We hopped and skipped all the way to the mailbox. I felt 10x better by the time we returned and was ready to interact with the creative twosome.
(I have to admit, though, that as much I as try to appreciate my girls' creativity, finding my 5 year old playing with her spit [ewww!] is a little off-putting.)
Oh, and I could keep writing. Talking about how those in the prisons need to learn to take responsibility for their own actions, how parents need to start taking responsibility for their children and start being parents. Our minds and our culture just are not programmed for such thinking. And yes, there are days I could do better. When I recognize that, I ask their forgiveness and we try again. How humbling to have my 8 year old gifted daughter climb into my lap and ask me to play with her. These days are too fleeting. Don't grow up yet, baby! Be a little girl just a little longer. Don't rush through life - enjoy it!