As I watch my 5 year old daughter grow up before my eyes, it amazes me how mature she acts even at such a young age. I remember like it was just yesterday when my husband and I brought her home from the hospital for the first time and now she is 5 going on 30 (in her own mind). With the amount of technology, social pressure, societal pressure, and even familial pressure prevalent in children and teen's lives nowadays, it amazes me that they even have a childhood.
With all the messages coming from technology, the media, and child/teen directed advertisement one particular message seems to be coming loud and clear... being a kid is overrated. More and more teens seem to be wanting to grow up faster and faster because that is the message they are receiving. They always want to be at the next stage in their life because once they get to that point in their minds then they will feel fulfilled. This can mirror how later in life as adults they will not be fulfilled until they have that certain job, salary, house, car... you fill in the blank. Therefore, it is crucial to find joy and self-fulfillment at an early age because that joy will carry on into adulthood.
Sometimes as parents we can be guilty of pushing our kids to grow up before their time. The next activity, or project, or function becomes more important than enjoying life (and for that matter childhood) itself. I know because I have been guilty of this myself. My daughter was in Ballet, Gymnastics, and we were thinking about putting her in soccer all at once. We did not ask her if she wanted to be so busy we just assumed that she would enjoy doing all three at the same time. We would pick our daughter up from school and take her directly to either dance or ballet. She would be exhausted by the end of the day, but there was no room for rest. We would then feed, clean, and do homework before bedtime. My husband and I did not notice at first, but this routine was wearing our daughter out. After we stepped back from the situation and noticed the toll it was taking on our daughter we made a decision to slow down and enjoy childhood a little more.
All I can say is this, we as parents need to understand and must remember what it was like being a kid. We must help our kids embrace their inner child because childhood goes by in the blink of an eye. Before we know it, our children are truly all grown up and gone and we don't want them to regret not having a childhood because they were too busy acting like adults. Let's help our kids just be kids before it is too late.