Therapist Reveals Signs Of Maturity That Parents Want To See In Kids

When I was in post-grad school, I decided to focus on marriage and family therapy due to a personal reason.

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You see, I have a younger sister who had always been the source of headaches for the family. The typical kids who would do what she had done were from a broken family or experienced childhood trauma. However, mom and dad were very much in love, and we never had money issues because they were both hard-working.

If we talked about neglect, that issue would not apply to my sister. My mother would never agree with me on this, but my parents favored her more than anyone in the family. Because of that, it had always boggled our minds as we kept on thinking, “Where did we go wrong?”

Stories From The Past

Mom and dad had a policy that we could get anything we wanted, but we could not have boyfriends until college. It was super simple – super understandable. Unfortunately, I heard dad’s voice roaring upstairs one day because she had my sister’s phone and saw that she was exchanging “I love you’s” with a boy from school. She was only 13 years old at the time.

Then, when my sister turned 16, our parents allowed her to get a part-time job. “Still,” they reminded her, “You should help out here at home and carry on your chores.” She managed to find a job, but her chores would remain undone until mom or dad would make a stance and not let her leave until everything’s done.

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By the time I entered post-grad school, my younger sister was a college freshman. She was already 18 years old; I thought she would be wiser and more adult-like than ever. However, one of her instructors happened to be my sorority friend, and she asked me what’s going on at home because my sister hardly went to her classes.

That was like the tipping point for my parents. They gave my little sister a chance to explain herself, but she came up with alibis that were – for lack of a better word – dumb. She reasoned that her part-time job coincided with the class schedule, her alarm clock did not work, and her teacher did not let anyone in if they were at least a minute late.

In my dad’s anger, she made my sister stop for the rest of the semester. She argued that it would be a waste of money, but dad said, “You already wasted my money by skipping classes. God only knows what other subjects you did not go to, so you will come home and think about your actions.”

Signs of Maturity

My sister obviously hurt, asked why our parents made such a harsh decision. She felt like she was already an adult and could do whatever she wanted. However, I had to teach her about the signs of maturity that most parents need to see in their kids to consider them adults.

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Accountability

The primary thing that moms and dads are looking for is accountability. It merely implies that you should be able to own up to your actions. Whether it fails or succeeds, no one else should take the blame for it but you.

In my sister’s case, she blamed everything but herself when our parents learned she had not been going to class. It showed how irresponsible she was, which made our folks more upset than ever.

Honesty 

Mature individuals are not shy of revealing the truth, no matter how awful it may be. It’s still related to accountability, given that you can never be honest if you refuse to accept that you are responsible for something.

If we go back to the accounts above, you’d realize that my sister made various excuses during the confrontation. All of them were nonsensical – we’re still yet to get an honest answer out of her. It happened because she most likely knew the extent of her mistakes and did not want to get punished for them.

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Repentance

Repentant people are those who understand and accept their faults. Aside from apologizing about their actions, they also show how sorry they feel by doing the opposite of what they have done or changing their ways entirely.

This sign of maturity is challenging to see in young adults like my sister, who got mad about her punishment instead of feeling repentant. It meant that she still could not see the problem and that she felt wronged by our parents.

Diagnosis And Therapy

A few more months passed, and my sister’s behavior did not improve, so I brought her to my psychiatrist friend. She was eventually diagnosed with an immature personality disorder. It shocked my parents but not me since the signs had been there all along.

The psychiatrist and I worked together to help my sister deal with her issues. It took over a month before we got some truths out of her, and her actions were primarily due to her inability to cope with stress and understand that all adults are supposed to be responsible for everything. After the treatment, my sister finally got to go back to college.

Therapist 101: Why You Must Accept Your Child-Rearing Mistakes

When my sister and I were growing up, It was evident who my parents’ favorite child was, not me. In all fairness, mom and dad were never mean to me. If I asked for something, they would get it in a heartbeat. Often, I only had to look at an object for more than two minutes, and they would buy it before I even asked.

I said that my little sister was the most favored member of the family because she could get away with anything. For instance, she dismantled the ship I was making out of LEGO blocks once, and no one reprimanded her for it. My mom even blamed me mildly for it because I placed it where my sister could reach it.

I also felt slight discrimination when it came to how soon we had to be home. While I had an early curfew as a teenager, my sister could stay outside until 10 PM or 11 PM. I would ask my parents why, and they would reply that it’s because my sister was at a group study session. Since I was a teenage boy, they had reservations about trusting me whenever I said the same thing.

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When The Crapola Hit The Fan

One day, the police called. I remembered it vividly because I happened to pick up the telephone when I saw that mom was busy cooking. When I asked what the call’s about, the police told me that mom and dad need to go to the local station because my little sister got caught stealing a car while high as a kite.

I was shocked by what I heard; I did not hear it when my mother walked near me and asked about the caller. She had to snap her fingers a few times in front of my face before I blurted out, “Sis is at the police station.”

As I expected, mom did not believe the charges. We picked up dad from work, and they began calling their lawyers, preparing to file charges against the police who claimed that my sister was a drug addict and a car thief.

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But once we came face to face with my sister inside the station, all the words seemed to have left my parents. Sis was in a cell all by herself because she was aggressive to the other people in the holding cell. The police even showed footage of her trying to run away from the scene.

When my sister saw mom and dad, though, her facial features turned soft and sweet. She begged them to help her get out because the charges were false (according to her). I noticed that my parents wanted to turn a blind eye and believe her, but the case was already out of their hands. My sister was eventually sentenced to 90 days in a juvenile prison.

Questions And Denials

My sister’s imprisonment took a massive toll on my parents, especially on my mother. She kept asking things like, “What went wrong?” “Why didn’t we see the signs?” “Didn’t we give her enough love and attention?” Dad had to take mom to a therapist because he feared that her depression would continue if left untreated.

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The therapist practically encouraged my parents to see the problem during therapy: they placed my sister on a pedestal. They thought that she was perfect, that she could never be at fault. Because of that ideology, my sister kept up a sweet façade, and they believed it 100%.

“So, are you saying that we’re the reason why our child is behind bars now?” my mother demanded, wide-eyed.

“No, that’s not what I meant. Still, we have to accept as parents that we sometimes slip up during our child-rearing years. You loved your daughter too much in your case, so it became effortless for her to manipulate you and hide her real activities. If you took a step back at least once, you might have seen that something about her behavior did not add up,” the therapist explained.

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Realization finally dawned on my mother. She recounted those times when my sister would come home with red eyes and say that it’s because she watched a tearful movie. There were also days when my sister would not accept money from our parents and claim that she had enough savings. They were sweet gestures, but they should have doubted her a smidge for her sake.

Final Thoughts

It’s challenging for any parent to accept their child-rearing mistakes. My mom and dad had to stay in therapy even when my sister already got out of juvenile prison since they did not trust their judgment skills when it came to her.

That was a challenging year for our family. My parents began questioning everything my sister said; my sister had to regain their trust. Despite all that, we learned from what happened and came out stronger as a unit.

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