AUG 30
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August 30, 2023 · Bob Gass

Let your children enjoy their childhood

“I will lead on slowly, at the pace of…the children.” Genesis 33:14 ESV

Today there is a tendency on the part of some parents to try and make their children grow up too quickly. They rush them through the milestones of childhood and thrust them into the turmoils of adolescence. This is the conclusion of developmental psychologist Dr. David Elkind, who called this cultural phenomenon the “hurried child syndrome.” It happens when parents encourage their children to act like teenagers, such as buying makeup for preschool girls, allowing early-teenage dating, treating kids more like grown-ups, expecting them to make adult-level choices, dressing them in designer clothes, and especially, subjecting them to graphic sexuality in television, music videos, movies, and the internet. Years ago, parents understood the necessity of a safe and orderly progression through childhood. There were cultural markers that defined the ages at which specific behaviours and activities were deemed appropriate or inappropriate. Today these markers have vanished or they have been moved downward. And it can be a big mistake. When you treat your children as if they’re already grown, it becomes very challenging to set limits on their adolescent behaviour in the near future. How can you establish a curfew for a thirteen-year-old, for example, who has been taught to view himself or herself as an adult? In short, the hurried child syndrome deprives our kids of childhood and puts them on an unnatural timetable that’s detrimental to their mental and physical health. If you’re wise, you will heed the advice of Jacob to his brother Esau: “I will lead on slowly, at the pace of…the children.”

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 13-15

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