Have you ever wondered how do we know to interact with other people? We know to interact by instinct, but what about all the rules we respect without even knowing them? How do we develop our personal space?
Jordan B. Peterson talks in his book 12 Rules for Life about the fact that children develop most of their social skills by the time they reach 4 years old and after that they just test those skills and rules. Apparently, how much children interact and with whom define what kind of skills they’ll have later in life. Based on this, if a child interacts with the parents most of the time and has almost no interactions with other children, he or she won’t have the chance to develop the skills required to interact with peers which will lead to difficulties in this area late in life.
Ok, but shouldn’t be the same thing? There are some interactions so children should be able to interact with anyone, right? Well, no. This is because there are like different “languages” used. We don’t talk to peers like we talk to our parents so practicing only one of those languages will lead to not knowing the other ones. We’ll try to talk to our peers as we talk to our parents and that can be awkward and it can be one of the reasons some adults have communication problems.
Besides this, there are some other rules we learn as children (for example, not to kick and scream at other people for nothing). Children test the rules they learned in other situations to see if they apply. For example, I noticed that the child of one or my friends sometimes starts kicking his mother and he only stops at a certain point when his mother gets very angry about it. He does it at home very often and sometimes tries it in other situations as well (for example, at the supermarket), but that’s when his mother stops him right from the beginning. In this case, I believe that the child learned the following: I can kick and scream at my mother at home until she gets very angry, but I can’t do it in the supermarket.
I know there is this idea that parents shouldn’t say “no” to their children, but it is very important to do it so children can learn what is accepted by society and what is not. It is important because without knowing this, future adults won’t fit and lots of frustration, loneliness and depression can appear. It is awesome to be different because we are, but this doesn’t exclude the fact that we should be able to collaborate as a society so we can go in the same direction. When people cannot proper interact, they cannot collaborate.
Some parents are overprotective and their children are not allowed to do anything. This is also a problem because experience is what forms us. Being isolated won’t help with developing the required skills so future adults can function on their own in this big bad world.
What do you think about this idea? How important it is to provide all sorts of experiences to children?