What is the Maturity Model?
Often times, our teens will assert that they want to be treated like adults but their behaviour shows us that they are still looking at the world from a childish perspective. When our kids look like adults but operate from an immature stance, it can create tension in the family; parents can become frustrated with the lack of maturity and awareness that their kids demonstrate and kids can get upset that their parents don’t let them explore their autonomy and developing self. This can lead to a dynamic in the family that can be difficult to break away from.
When teens are really struggling with the responsibilities of growing up, it can become very problematic and even quite scary for parents. Showing a lack of empathy to others, a disregard for the rules and their personal wellbeing, difficulty following through on goals or responsibilities and a general sense of apathy can be difficult for parents to understand and know how to approach.
Why don’t kids just listen to their parent’s concerns?
Of course, it would be most helpful and convenient if our kids would just listen to our concerns and change their behaviour accordingly. Just like we did when we were teenagers, right?
The problem is not that teens won’t accept your good advice. It’s that given their immature perspective on the world they simple CAN’T.
Here are some of the assertions that the Maturity Model makes;
- When kids are troubled they don’t know what is wrong or why
- It is NOT an intentional choice
- It is NOT a factor or skill that can be learned without experience
- It is NOT willful bad behavior
- It’s NOT a personal attack on the parents (although it can feel that way at times)
- It will change only as they grow up and mature
MATURITY IS A DEVELOPMENTAL ACHIEVEMENT but not something that happens automatically
Adolescent difficulties are primarily an issue of immaturity.
When children fail to mature we see it emerge in their academic performance, their social choices, their level of engagement with substances, and all of the attendant difficulties that ensue. We call this Global Collapse.” (John A. McKinnon, M.D., The Unchanged Mind)
Parents are the key factor in helping children mature!