Is your Kid Too Mature?

by Rom Brafman PhD. & Ali Rodriguez, MFT Trainee
Site Director and Intern at La Entrada Middle School  

With so many demands placed on kids these days, school gets more and more competitive every year.  Parents feel compelled to help out their kids by getting them prepared for the years of education that lie ahead.  But in the process something gets lost.  Kids lose themselves in the world of high achievement and scholastic aptitude.

What about in addition to teaching your kids how to be successful academically, also teach them how to have fun and be silly?  What would it mean if we encouraged kids to act their age?  It seems like the biggest compliment a parent gets is when they are told that their teen behaves beyond their years, is mature, and is very focused.  This is indeed a compliment, but what if your teen’s teacher also remarked on your child’s ability to have fun, be spontaneous, and hold on to that innocent spark that defines childhood?

Here are some things you can do with your kid to help them act their age:

1. If you catch them being silly or immature, even if they’re extremely annoying, let them know that you’re happy that they don’t take themselves too seriously.  Remember that what’s annoying to you is an essential aspect of being a healthy teenager to them.

2. Model behavior for them.  Play with your kids.  Start a spontaneous water balloon fight.  Chase them around for no reason.  Use humor generously.

3. Remind them that you’re proud of them regardless of their achievement. Tell them that they’re great.

4. Help them manage their time.  If they’re studying too much, help them set boundaries and have fun times together.

5. Support your kids in pursuing whatever their heart desires, even if it won’t help them get into college.

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