Marriage and mental age

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Al-Watan newspaper

MAKING mistakes is natural. It is even considered a positive thing that helps us learn from our mistakes in the process of gaining experience.

An individual makes mistakes in the early years of his/her life until they reach the age of maturity. Life experiences refine an individual's personality and define his directions. But this natural process contradicts the phrase "Marriage makes a person sensible" because it does not make any sense.

Many people think that marriage, which is a great responsibility, will bring positive changes in an individual. This may be true if a crazy man decides to become sensible, but many crazy people will remain the same and take their sensible partners to the threshold of madness. There is no doubt that people who are not prepared to face the demands of married life would end up in divorce.

Today I like to discuss one of the reasons that make a person continue in his madness until God wants to change his attitude. During a conversation with Dr. Alhumaidi Al-Dhaidan, a professor of psychology and family counselor, I asked him about the most suitable age for a man or woman to get married.

He explained to me a beautiful point we often overlook: The difference between a person's age based on his date of birth and his mental age that reflects a person's mental power to take decisions.

A person's age is calculated on the basis of the number of years he has lived since he was born while the mental age is defined considering how he behaves and reacts and his ability to take crucial decisions.

A person may be 25 years old, but his actions, decisions and interests will show that his mental age is 18. The mental age varies from person to person.

I still remember that I used to carry candies in my pockets to break fast during Ramadan on my way to the toyshop to buy dolls. Although I felt that I became mature at the age of 20 when I traveled to America with my husband, all my actions, behavior and choices indicated that my mental age at that time was only 15.

Maturity is very important when taking decisions on marriage or any other vital matters. So it is imperative for parents to guide their children not just in accordance with their biological age but by considering their mental age.

In my opinion, a person reaches the stage of maturity late if he or she does not go through experiences that force him or her to make important decisions using logic and different types of skills, such as social and emotional intelligence.

The most important experiences that make a person mature are higher studies especially in a foreign land, travel and volunteer work.

Parents must teach their children to take responsibility, give them opportunities to make choices and then face the consequences of their own decisions.

A stereotypical a statement that we usually hear in our family circles is that the most immature people are the ones who were pampered as children. We always hear in Arab and Gulf dramas and movies that "You ruined my children by pampering them."

Showing so much love and affection to children is essential to bring them up properly. It will bring children closer to their parents and encourage them to love their fathers and mothers.

At the same time, this must be done with moderation and wisdom. We should not satisfy all the demands of children and this is an important element of sound education. Pamper your children as much as you wish, but do not make them big children and then let them marry to get wise.


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