Dr. Rich Patterson

Deciduous Forest & Kids

The deciduous forest is another component of the mature forest and often has dark and light timber.  Dark and light timber means some Aspen, Birch, Poplar, and Red Maple trees scattered among other dark evergreen trees.  The Aspen has a trembling nature of their leaves and the Birch trees.  As I work to relate this to kids, I want to point out that, in most cases, this part of the forest is more open, the light does reach the forest floor, and generally, this part of the forest is temporary–the first stage toward a more mature forest.

So it is with our kids, despite all their challenges at times, their demands, their errors of judgment, this is very temporary.  The time spent raising your kids is relatively short compared to your whole adult life.  There are many birds found in this part of the forest – lots of species.  As we raise our kids, I want to help you see their various stages, much like the forest stages that develop.  Their physical development includes the growth spurts and their evolution into an adult.  They achieve some impressive outcomes in their intellectual development: their cognitive development and thinking, and my favorite, their ability to reason.

I look forward to the day when they can reason because that means you can reason with them.  Reasoning with kids allows for the chance to teach them and help them process difficult circumstances and mistakes.

When they decide to find a job, spend more time with peers, and develop close friendships, their social development is ripe with opportunities for help from a parent.  Finally, their moral development when they challenge home values is challenging for everyone, particularly parents.  During this time, they develop a moral code and determine if their behavior aligns with others or holds the line with a higher standard.  I spend some time talking about this in my book:  Making Sense of Life:  A Guidebook for Teens and Parents.  It is available on Amazon or your favorite bookseller as a paperback, eBook, and Audiobook.

Enjoy the developmental stages and realize that kids are in the deciduous forest stage, which is temporary, and that they will become an adult. Someday you will have a great conversation with them, trying to figure all of this out.

The stages of development for kids are very temporary.  It helps to teach them that the present moment will soon fade.  Read this post here; This is Only Temporary – Dr. Rich Patterson (

For a more philosophical look at the temporal nature of things, read this post, Temporal Consciousness, Temporal Consciousness (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)


Let me know how you have handled this with a comment below.

Yours for Better Parenting,