The other day when I posted my review of Artificial Maturity by Dr. Tim Elmore, I said that for anyone working with children, tweens, teens, or young adults this book is a must-read. I don’t say that about very many books, but it is definitely true of this one (you can read my full review here).
Let me share with you ten of my favorite quotes from this book. Unless otherwise noted, all of the quotes are from Dr. Elmore…
“In short, the artificial maturity dilemma can be described this way: (1) Children are overexposed to information, far earlier than they’re ready. (2) Children are underexposed to real-life experiences far later than they’re ready.”
“Steps to take to build authentic maturity:
- Provide autonomy and responsibility simultaneously.
- Provide information and accountability simultaneously.
- Provide experiences to accompany their technology-savvy lifestyles.
- Provide community service opportunities to balance their self-service time.”
“For the most part, adults have failed to build true ‘life skills’ in kids. We haven’t helped them self-regulate and make decisions about concerns that matter. Students’ busy schedules often aren’t all that meaningful, and young people spiral downward into despair over relatively trivial issues. Their days are full of artificial activities with artificial consequences, resulting in artificial maturity. The stress is real, but it is often over things that don’t really matter, and it isn’t building mature people.”
“We must be parents, not pals. We must be coaches, not coddlers. And we must lead them, not just lecture them.”
“Analysts say there are increasing signs that a lack of independence fuels stress, anxiety, and depression among young people. …Kids’ early lives today are too full of information and structure, and too empty of innocence and the freedom to play and explore. But by adolescence, it’s almost the opposite. It’s as though they experience a flip-flop. Their lives are too full of freedom, and too empty of accountability.”
“This appears to be a paradoxical trend—[adolescents] expressing a decline in readiness to actually ‘be’ adults that is proportionate to their desire to leave home. …They want to be consumers but not necessarily contributors. …Our job is to prepare the child for the path, not the path for the child.”
“The fact is, kids—all kids—need adults to lead them well. In our mad obsession to remain cool and on the cutting edge of everything, adults have surrendered what may be their most important responsibility: to provide role models to the next generation. We might win at the game of being liked, but we lose at the game of leading well.”
“For our teens, we’ve defined nurturance largely in terms of the things we can do for them, the stuff we can buy them, and the experiences and opportunities we can provide. In reality, what most teens need is neither more stuff, nor more lessons, nor do most teens even need more tender, loving care or quality time. While young children need a great deal of parental nurturance in the form or direct assistance geared toward meeting their needs, adolescents need something different. Unlike children, teens’ bodies and brains most need us to nurture and develop capacities to function on their own in this world. This means expecting things of them, not just giving things to them.” —Drs. Joseph & Claudia Worrell
“Five parental decisions:
- Decide that you will build a bridge of relationship that can bear the weight of hard truth.
- Decide that it’s more important for you to have their respect than for them to like you.
- Decide that it’s more important for you to pass on essential values than to just have fun.
- Decide that it’s more important for them to be ready for the future than to be comfortable.
- Decide to pass on the principles (values) you wish you’d known earlier in life.”
“As adults, we have done a poor job in getting this generation of kids ready for life. If they flounder, it is because we’ve focused on preparing the path for the children instead of the children for the path. I believe in this next generation. These kids are great, and they’re capable of much more than we’ve expected. We have not led them well. We’ve allowed them to mature artificially by default. We’re protected them instead of preparing them for life as adults. It’s time we get them ready to lead the way into the future.”