As we continue with our theme of “training to launch”, we need to discuss a major issue- the maturity of the child. Yesterday we touched on the fact that boys and girls mature at different rates, but even children of the same gender will mature at their own pace. What this means for parents is that the parameters placed around one child at a certain age may not work for the next child even if they are the same gender. This forces us as parents, to know our children very well so we are able to determine what they can and cannot handle. For example, one of your children may be very responsible and mature enough to handle driving a car at the age of 16. Lets say later on one of this child’s siblings, who has now reached the age of 16, wants to start driving the car like the older brother or sister did. This child, however, has not proven that he or she can handle the great responsibility that comes along with driving a car. We must then make a decision because now not only are they taking their life but the lives of others on the road into their hands. This is a “launching point” that must be evaluated for each child. If a child is not ready, then there needs to be goals placed in front of them so they can prove that they are mature enough to handle any given responsibility. As children grow there are many areas like this one that need to be evaluated for each individual child. There cannot be a “one size fits all” for these areas of parenting, that require certain levels of maturity to attain.