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Does Mama Really Know Best?


Academy SponsorsParents think they know what is “best” for their kids because they have managed to grow into the parent they are today. But what exactly is the “best” for kids and young adults? Letting kids be kids is hard, not only because of the standards set by their parents but by society too. It’s not right to judge kids; they are still growing and still learning. As the poet Kahlil Gibran has said To belittle, you have to be little.” Parents need to start accepting their children without judgement, no matter how weird their child may be.

The standard for beauty will change, just like the standard for kids’ behavior will change. In the 1970s things weren’t like they are today; we live in an era where technology is important but also dangerous. It can broadcast false information about self-image to children and there’s very little anyone can do to prevent it. Girls now aspire to be a Victoria’s Secret model and they don’t even know what the secret is. Children are told, “You need to look like this, talk like that, be like her” to be accepted and successful in today’s society. The few exceptions to this would be the dramatic pendulum swing of events that made certain things acceptable, like Ellen DeGeneres coming out on national television. That’s why the standards set by society are invalid, society targets a certain age group, starting a game of “Monkey See, Monkey Do”.

It’s hard to believe that today is a different day, a different era for adults to raise their kids in. But it doesn’t mean that they need over protection from the many wrong things in the world. Get to know your kids before trying to shelter them from outside influences because in most cases, failing to do so will have a backlash effect. Learning is a part of growing up, children have minds of their own and most times cannot be controlled. The cliche “If your friend jumps off the bridge, would you jump with them?” could be answered with a question: “That depends. How high is the bridge?”

Many child development specialists say the age at which we learn right from wrong hangs around 19 to 21 months old, so parents may think children should make perfectly rational decisions after that. But the brain doesn’t fully develop until the age of 25. And “there’s no clear age at when a child knows right from wrong — nor a test to prove it,” according to forensic child psychiatrist. Most irrational decisions made during that long period are frowned upon, but they can’t be explained no matter how much you think a child has learned. That’s why it is an important role for an adult to incorporate disciplinary action into their child’s life until they become of age. At the same time, a child needs to scrape their knees and have a few knots upside their head in order to learn.

A growing toddler to a teen to a young adult should not be judge on decisions they are making, because they are still growing and developing. Every adult was once in their shoes and not every child will grow up like their parent. That in itself should make it that much more easy to be more understanding and supportive to any and all children.

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Symonia Donaldson is a member of the Madison365 Academy. She is a graduate from Madison Memorial High school, class of 2016. She enjoys riding her bike around her community, while job searching and running errands. Madison College is in her near future starting in the fall of 2016, studying Healthcare Administration and Insurance and possible re-entry for Medical Coding Specialist. Many opportunities have presented themselves to her and she will be attending college for free, thanks to the Dane County Job Center.