Recently a young neighborhood girl walked into our yard and announced proudly and loudly, “I’m eight!” It was clear that eight was a significant milestone for her. It reminded me of a young boy in a fast food restaurant. He and his father were in line next to us, and when the father asked if his son wanted a happy meal, his son replied, “No, I’m too old for a happy meal.
As you interact with your children and grandchildren, remember to look not only at who they have been so far in life, but also at who they might be.
In other words, honor the past but don’t be limited by it.
At some point, children start thinking they are grown up, and they want us to treat them as if they were. With this new way of thinking about themselves, it’s wonderful if they notice that we interact with them in new, more grown-up ways as well.
Here are some ideas for interacting differently with your children as they are growing up—remembering that you know your children and I don’t.
- Asking them what they think and then listening and truly considering their replies
- Sharing with them more about your ideas, passions, and worries
- Expecting more of them in terms of contributing to the family and household
- Expecting them to be responsible for things without close supervision, such as getting their homework done
So, even if your daughter is eight, you might try speaking and listening to her as though she were fourteen!
“If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain as he is. If you treat an individual as he could be, he will become the person he could be.” — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer