Sunday, April 5, 2009

Growing (Up) 2

So what does growing up mean?

"You grow up!"

"No, you grow up!"

These are common phrases in the playground. My mother used to use them to my brother and me. She-ex has screamed it down the phone and written it in emails and MSN (insert your own expletives!) to both of us at different points.

It's an expression that we use to imply immaturity, that the person is acting like a child, and we are the superior being because *we* are the mature ones. However in most adult to adult cases, the person who reverts to playground shouting is often the most immature and is aware that they have already lost the argument lol!

It's something I have never said to the AC, although it's something that he is doing. Today he has a children's party to go to. I phoned the mother yesterday to say we would be unable to attend because the rear shock absorbers have gone on the car. They can wait. We got the bike fixed and taxed yesterday, R has transport to go away again this afternoon, we will live without it for now!

Anyway, she said she would come and pick us up because F really really wanted the AC to come. She also said that if the AC wanted to come on his own, that would be ok. Hmmmmmm. He's never gone anywhere like that on his own. So I asked him what he would like to do. His reply "Well Mummy, I've never gone anywhere like that just me and my friends, so I think I'd like to try it, and then I'll know if I like it!"

What a grown up, logical answer! 5+ years of attachment parenting have lead to this point. He is able to decide for himself what he wants to do, with the reasons, and think about it, and then act upon it. He's going to be 6 in June, and whilst I wouldn't be happy with him roaming the streets on his own just yet, I think this is a good start for him.

That's maturity.

What's immaturity? It's the lack of being grown up.

In children, it's tantrums, it's shouting, it's hitting, it's throwing things.

In adults, it's tantrums, it's shouting, it's hitting, it's throwing things, but it's also swearing angrily (although that counts as a tantrum to me!) hanging up in the middle of a call and that kind of silly behaviour.

Piaget (educational pshycologist) wrote about the 4 stages of childhood.

Birth - 2years - Sensory motor stage. It's the acquisition of motor skills, of sensations, and the development of Object Permanence (the idea that an object is still there, even when it can't be seen) Babies are egocentric, and unable to consider any wants or needs or interests but their own.

2-7 yrs Pre-Operations Stage Still ego-centric although some understanding of other people develops alongside Animisn, where a personality is attributed to everything around. e.g the child thinks the car won't start because it is sick. The child understands people get sick, but not the internal combustion engine, therefore the child's ideas make sense to the child! The decentring of the child's ego tends to focus on the idea that everyone has feelings, wants and needs, but that they are similar to, or the same as, the child.

7-11years - Concrete Operations Stage The thought process for the child becomes more mature and focused, and the chid has logical thoughts about an object and is thus able to manipulate it. The child can be presented with a problem, and solve it with the use of physically present items. They become aware of other people around them having different needs, but are still focused on their own. (This is about where the AC is entering!)

11-15 - Formal Operations Stage - The capacity for abstraction. The things do not have to be there for the child to manipulate them in their mind. Problem solving identifies all of the possibilities and erradicates them one by one. There is an appreciation of other thoughts.

Ok, it's only in a nutshell, but that's Piaget for you! Clever chap. The progression of the child from infant to young adult is an ongoing process. I am a different person to that which I was in my 20's. (Thank the Lord for that!) and I will not stagnate, but will keep on growing.

Child is up! TBC!

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