One of the most common questions we ask children when we meet them is “how old are you?” We ask this as if it will give us magical insights into who the child is, but in reality it only tells us how many years ago the child was born.
So many things influence a child’s emotional age/maturity and yet, we all to often use the chronological number to make decisions about what the child is allowed/expected to do. In this very good blog, Connie Mistler Davidson, BellaOnline’s Attention Deficit Disorder Editor talks about how ADD can effect emotional maturity.
One of the really great things about horses is that they don’t care how old you are. They have no concept of this. They may respond to how tall a person is, being perhaps more cautious around small creatures and they certainly respond to how we interact with them, but chronological age means nothing.
However, if someone acts immaturely, silly or not focused, a horse may not take them seriously. The horse knows that this person will not be a good leader and therefore, the horse will assume a leadership role, though they really prefer that someone else be in charge. The horse may actually become pushy in an attempt to find out just how much they can count on the person interacting with them. The horse wants to know “do I have to take care of myself, or are you capable of being a partner/leader?”
A big part of emotional maturity is being able to ignore distractions and stay focused on the task at hand. It also means being able to consider possible consequences of our actions and being able to make thoughtful choices. These are some of the the things that many of our client work on. We help our clients develop the focus and the boundaries that they need to be a good partner/leader and help them begin to consider ‘what if’ type situations in their interactions with their horse.
If you know a child or teen that is struggling with ADD or other mental health issues, perhaps we can help. Call or email to schedule a visit. We will show you around the ranch, introduce you to our wonderful horses, learn more about the challenges you are dealing with and share with you how we may be able to help.