Age Appropriate Do you think your child is getting too old for certain activities and your spouse doesn’t? Dr. K. lets you in on some ways to be a good egg about things. BY DR. KAREN SHERMAN
Is there an age cutoff for celebrating holiday traditions?
My husband thinks our kid is too old to hunt for Easter eggs, but I disagree. Is there a proper age or right answer?
In this crazy stressed out world, it’s probably the hope of many parents that you can protect and hold onto your children, and their innocence, for as long as possible. It seems all too quick that the years rush by and they are no longer children enjoying all the joys and wonderment of their youth.
Certainly, hunting for Easter eggs is one of the fun filled activities, which probably brings back fond memories from your childhood. No doubt there are similar ones at other times of the year and various rituals from other cultures.
So, it is understandable that you would want to have this activity continue for your child. Of course, it is also easy to comprehend the concern of your spouse that this is no longer age appropriate.
There are a number of factors that ought to be considered before the final decision is made, since I don’t believe there are any hard and fast rules about this matter:
Does your child seem eager to engage in this activity? This certainly shouldn’t be forced on a child who feels they no longer want to partake.
Are there other siblings involved? If there are, the older child may play along because it’s a family activity.
If the child is older, is the activity being played with the understanding it is for fun and the child realizes the reality, e.g. in this case, that there is no Easter Bunny?
What does seem more essential, however, is how the two of you conduct yourselves in handling this matter. Here are some tips to follow:
It is important that you have a respectful conversation and you hear each other out.
Try not to get into a conflict your child will overhear —that will certainly dampen the spirit of the matter.
Whatever decision you make should be supported by both of you. That is, the partner who did not originally agree with the final position should not indicate their feelings to the child. It is very important that children view their parents as presenting a unified front. Otherwise, the message that the child might receive is that one parent is disrespecting the other. Additionally, to do so leaves an opportunity for the child to play one parent against the other.
So, if you decide to go a-hunting, let your kids and yourself get into the mood of the day and enjoy—be a good egg about it!
Karen Sherman, Ph.D., (www.drkarensherman.com) is a practicing psychologist in relationships and lifestyle issues for over 20 years. She offers teleseminars and is co-author of Marriage Magic! Find It! Make It Last.