Timing is everything. That’s what they say about sports, acting, investments, real estate, and a gazillion activities out there. Raising a child is no different. When it comes to helping children learn how to read, write, and listen to a lesson, it is counterproductive to demand of a child a level of performance that is not according to the age and the ability of the child.
Any parent knows that a child will flee from tasks that are beyond his or her ability simply in order to avoid the humiliation of failure. Plus if we force the child to do the tasks anyways and he fails, we’ve actually taught that child to hate the assignment because it reminds him of his own insufficiency.
As a result not only does the attempt at building the child fail, but we also plant seeds of antipathy for the very behavior we had hoped to encourage.
A good example of an issue that requires the right timing for a child is involuntary urination (called enuresis). Parents deal with this in small children by toilet training them. Unfortunately some parents gauge their own parenting ability by how early the child is toilet trained. They think that the earlier the child is toilet trained, the better the parent he or she is. Or they want the child to be t-t’d for the sake of convenience, because a tt’d child does not need a parent to spend time and money on diapers.
Those types of parents push their children to the toilet bowl in order to “perform” before they even have the physical ability to do so. As a result when the child has an accident in his underwear or wets his bed, the parent is frustrated, and the child feels like a failure.
While there are children who purposefully refuse to use the toilet even when they have the ability to use it, this is usually rare. Most children are very happy to do away with diapers when they are ready. It is well worth the wait for them to reach this window of opportunity.
It is unecessary and tragic to pressure a child to perform. The result will most likely be that the child has negative associations with going to the bathroom, his self-image will be damaged, and the parent-child relationship is not as healthy as it could be. All because of impatience.
Likewise with the internet. Children need to know when is the right time to get involved with the internet. Playing with the internet is like playing with fire. A child needs to have the right amount of maturity and self-confidence to resist the temptations that the online world has to offer.
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