There are numerous ways you can define maturity, but I really like this one. That’s because it perfectly fits why the topic of maturity seems to keep finding its way into conversations about my family lately. I wish I could say it’s because I’m impressed with how mature everyone is or is becoming, but that is only partially true.
My two teenagers do continue to impress me with how they are thinking more along the lines adults would typically think, especially when it comes to how to handle certain situations. Their behavior can still be somewhat immature at times, but their thought processes are changing. They think about the big picture more and how their decisions affect others. And they think less about their own needs now, at least some of the time. They understand that they can’t have everything they want or need immediately, and they are conscious of their needs inconveniencing others.
I wish I could say the same about my husband when it comes to these things, but I can’t. He generally puts his own needs first, regardless of how much anyone else is inconvenienced, yet he doesn’t like to be inconvenienced himself. If he doesn’t get things the way he wants, he has his own way of pouting like a spoiled kid. And he has a lot to learn about things like treating people with respect, being a good listener, being empathetic, not being selfish, and so many other things I have covered in many of my posts. He basically hasn’t reached adulthood yet and still acts, reacts, thinks, and behaves like a typical twelve-year-old. I already have a twelve-year-old though, so sometimes they are like two peas in a pod. I tell people it’s like I’ve had a fourth child, and I am not joking.
When I think about how much more mature my older kids are than their dad, it blows me away sometimes. I can’t help but wonder why he never got beyond a certain maturity level. Clearly, much of it has to do with how he was raised, and it is not something that just happens inherently as you get older. It’s something that needs to be taught, which becomes more difficult when one parent or any influential adult is modeling such immature behavior and thought processes.
If you read my post about not losing our inner child, you know I’m all about being playful and childlike when it’s for the purposes of having fun, enjoying life, staying young, making people laugh or smile, and so on. But that’s not what I am talking about here. I will admit that when I am pushed to my limits, I can react to things in an immature way. But that’s the exception to the rule, and I’m sure that is the case for many people. We’re all human, and no one is perfect. It’s the whole mentality of being self-centered as an adult that is not acceptable. A child shouldn’t have to be the parent in any situation. Nor should one spouse have to parent the other.
Unfortunately, it’s much more difficult to get an adult to think or behave differently than it is a child. So it’s really important to not only teach kids all the characteristics that will help them be mature when they reach maturity (they are two different things!), but it needs to be modeled for them as well. I’m hoping it won’t be too long before I can say my preteen is more mature in many regards than his father. Wish me luck!
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