The very same conditions that can be credited for proper intellectual and emotional growth can also be credited for mischief and truancy.

A child that has no time to get into trouble also doesn’t have much time for self reflection. So it is always a risk we are taking when we create conditions in which children have a lot of time to themselves. Some use it well but many don’t. The temptations are enormous because young children are by nature greedy and self-centered. They haven’t develop a deep consciousness of others or empathy yet, and therefore do not worry about the consequence of their actions on others.

A child who never has a moment to himself because he is put to intensive work or study at a young age may be less likely to get into trouble but he is also less likely to form a healthy sense of self and a profound understanding of his world and its mechanics. He is also less likely to develop empathy which is necessary for deep connections with others.

The key is achieving the right balance and perhaps adapting that balance to the individual child. Some children appear to need more “framing’ and direction. Others are fiercely independent at a young age and need more space to grow.

Even as infants, children already have a personality or at the very least , a temperament. You dangle a new object in front of a baby who is just a few months old or present him with a new face. Some will smile and reach for it. Some will get agitated and even start to cry.

I have a pretty good understanding of human development….on an intellectual level, but applying this knowledge to my own children is a whole other ball game.


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