Monday, January 6, 2014

Are your children egocentric?

I have studied early childhood for many years. I find the stages of development fascinating from early childhood to adolescence.  Jean Piaget said that children show egocentric behavior. states that egocentrism is having or regarding the self or the individual as the center of all things.

Does that sound like your child? As an example, children ages birth to two years old are completely egocentric. They are just learning about the world around them and it is understandable that they would think in this manner. From the ages of two to six children are more developed but think in terms of images and symbols and therefor find it difficult to distinguish their point of view from others. At the ages of six to twelve children have developed cognitively and their egocentrism declines but is still there on a lower level. 

I have the most difficult time dealing with the final stage which is from age twelve to 19 or so. At this age the egocentrism has declined and they can understand various sides of the same situation. Still, at this age they most often feel that the world revolves around them. They feel that everyone is looking at them and often think they are invincible. For this reason, our military branches are able to recruit our young boys. So often boys of the ages seventeen to eighteen think it will be cool to join the military, they think they will be a bad a%$# and no harm will come to them because they are in control and are invincible. "It will never happen to me" most say. They simply cannot fathom the world as it is, they only see themselves. Since they feel so invincible the military is able to scoop them up before they see things as they really are.

As a mother this is so frustrating! My son is a Marine and I couldn't be more proud but I know at the time he made this decision he had no idea what he was in for. He has grown up so much in the past four years and seen things most adults don't need to see. My heart breaks for these young boys that are not fully developed cognitively making lifetime decisions.

At the same time, I think about the teens at home. The things that teenagers get themselves in to ! 
Usually because they are thinking only of themselves.They do this, because their brains are not fully developed but how frustrating it is for parents ! Sometimes teenagers make decisions that cause more harm than good not only to them but their families. An example is texting and  driving, drinking and driving, and/or sexual behaviors. Not only can these things affect the teenager directly, it affects the world around them but they usually don't understand that. They simply think that no matter what they have seen or heard of happening, it doesn't relate to "their" situation because no one has ever encountered this exact situation.

Its the egocentric behavior.

A teenagers decisions can cost families to separate, parents to lose their job and put their siblings and others lives in jeopardy. We adults see these things and understand so much more than they do. 

How can we get them to understand when their brains simply aren't fully developed. 

This post isnt directly related to any one event that has happened or is happening in my life. Its something that Ive thought about for a long time and decided to finally post it for the frustrated parents out there.

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