Did you know that children don’t start to develop reasoning skills until they are about 16 – 17 years old? Did you also know that reasoning skills aren’t generally fully developed until about the age of 25?
Reasoning is the ability to predict an outcome from an action. If you have reasoning skills it means that you can figure out “if this, then that.” For example, if I do this (say this, behave this way, take this course of action), then that will happen (the outcome will be x, y or z). It means that you can figure out cause and effect.
Often when I mention reasoning skills to parents they get angry at me for implying that their kids aren’t smart. Actually, reasoning skills have nothing to do with intelligence. Reasoning is a psychological development process, not an intelligence factor. If you have ever watched the TV show, “The Big Bang Theory”, you will see this principle in action. The character of Sheldon Cooper is highly intelligent but he often can’t determine an outcome of his actions and he is caught off guard by what actually happens.
What all of this means for your kids is that they don’t have the psychological development to make sound decisions for themselves until they are at least in their late teens. They require you to set boundaries for them so that they have the structure to navigate the world safely until they develop the ability to reason. You wouldn’t let them figure out how to cross the street all by themselves without any rules to get there safely would you? Then why would you let them navigate the world without setting boundaries for them?