Immature children

Immature children

Immature children are what we call children under the age of 7 because they are immature in terms of brain development.

Humans are programmed to be born prematurely. No other species on earth is so dependent on care for such a long time after birth as we are. Particularly during the first 7 years of a child’s life, their body and brain are immature in terms of their development. Nature intended it this way, however, because we are social beings, supposed to mature emotionally in the ‘social womb’ of our first relationships. For example, immature children build their ‘self’ and their sense of self based on their attachment to us. Immature children have a true thirst for guidance from us.

When children are termed ‘immature’, they are fully dependent on us emotionally, are still unable to do many things for themselves, or need our support. For example, they are unable to regulate their strong feelings themselves, they can’t control sudden impulses, struggle to see the ‘big picture’ and find it hard to visualise the consequences of their actions – to name just a few examples. We are sure that you have your own fitting examples to add to this list!

Supporting an immature child requires multiple factors: time (at least 7 years), serenity, love, humour and true empathy for their state of immaturity, which can itself be quite a challenge for the child at times. Providing parental leadership to an immature child means staying as solid as a rock when the child is going through strong emotions. And this is exactly what proves to be such a great challenge for so many of us.

There is nothing like the force of an immature child to test the maturity level in a parent

Deborah MacNamara

 in “Vertrauen. Spielen. Wachsen”

Providing parental leadership to an immature child means taking them by the hand, adopting a deeply caring approach and, at the same time, providing them with guidance. Combining these two qualities is certainly challenging, yet we consider this a very rewarding path towards achieving deeper emotional awareness.

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