Fear of Growning Up – What It’s Like to Be A Grown-Up According To A Six Year Old

Summary: You never know what’s on a child’s mind unless they tell you. They have fears and concerns that are often  much different than you’d expect.

So my daughter and I are driving to Watsonville to see the new Disney Nature movie “Oceans”. We’re not even to the Highway 1 on ramp before she drops a most existential concern.

“I’m afraid of becoming a grown-up.”

“Really? So what is about being a grown-up that scares you?”

“I’m afraid of writing checks. I don’t know how to do that. I’m afraid of going to the bank and putting money in or taking money out by myself. I’ve never done that before. I’m afraid of going to jail. I’m afraid of learning to drive. What if I crash? I’m afraid of becoming a teenager and I’m afraid of crossing the street by myself.”

“Well, it makes sense that you are a bit afraid of doing those things now. But when you’re older it won’t seem so scary.  When you’re ready you’ll look forward to doing those things – except going to jail. But you don’t need to worry about going to jail if you’re not doing bad things.”

“So what do teenagers get to do? What’s it like?”

“Well teenagers get to make a lot of their own decisions. They get to choose what they want to eat. Even if the they eat things their parents don’t want them to. They have a lot of control over their life. Teenagers get to stay up later…”

“Yeah!”

“Yeah, and they go places with just their friends while their parents stay home. Some teenagers even drive and have a car so you may be driving places with your friends. Teenagers go to concerts with their friends although there will probably be a parent along.”

“Can I eat Cheetos when I’m a teenager?”

“Yes. You can eat junky food like Cheetos because mom and I won’t be able to stop you. You can get them from your friends or buy them with your own money. We’re hoping by then we would have taught you good eating habits and you won’t eat too much junky food when we’re not around.”

“Did you eat Cheetos when you were a teenager?”

“Yes, but I don’t like them now. They are too salty and junky. I don’t think they taste good anymore.”

“I like Cheetos!”

“I know, you can eat all the Cheetos you want when you are a teenager.”

“Yeah!”

“You know, when I was a little kid I thought it would be so great when I was older. I would buy all the comic books I wanted. I would buy all the toys I wanted. I would launch my model rockets whenever I wanted. I’d have plenty of money and I could do whatever I wanted. But when I was finally on my own, and making my own money, and had my own car, I no longer wanted to do those things.”

“What? Is that true?”

“I know. It’s hard to believe. I could go to the store right now and buy all the candy I wanted and then go home and eat it all. I could even skip dinner, drink a can of soda, and then stay up really late and go to bed without brushing my teeth. No one could stop me.”

“Not even mom?”

“Nope, not even mom.”

“Wow! Why don’t you do that? I would!”

“Because I don’t want to. When you get older and have your own money, and can do whatever you want, you’ll have other interests. You won’t want to stay up all night and eat candy.You won’t want to do all those kid things. It’s kind of bummer. You spend all this time when you are a kid fantasizing about the things you’ll do when you are grown up. But when you’re finally grown up you don’t want to do those things anymore. The interesting thing is you won’t miss doing the kid stuff so It kind of all works out.”

“I don’t want to grown up. I want to stay a kid forever!”

“Yeah, that’s totally understandable. But when you’er ready you’ll be glad to be a grown-up.”

“Not me.”

File Under: Kids Anxiety About Getting Older – Children’s Fear of Growing Up – Fear Getting Older – Kids Worry About Getting Older – Explaining About Getting Older to Your Children


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