Old-soul kids are special

Some kids are unusually more expressive and they must be accommodated adequately. /123RF
Some kids are unusually more expressive and they must be accommodated adequately. /123RF

Being considered to be an "old soul" is usually a good thing. That means that you have a plethora of wisdom and are wiser and more emotionally mature than your peers.

But what if your child is the one who is getting these comments?

What if the people close to you often describe your pre-teen child as having an old soul? Should you be worried?

Psychologist Mampho Mofokeng says: "This just means that your child does not exhibit typical child-like behaviour.

"An example can be when your child constantly throws a barrage of questions your way that make you stop and think.

"They could be asking you to explain a certain custom even you cannot explain; like why it is deemed wrong to sweep at night. Instead of taking your initial answer, they may probe further to a point where you as a parent are stuck for an answer.

"Another example can be your child being deeply understanding for their age; for example, not throwing temper tantrums when you cannot get them what they asked for, or walking into their room with the world on your shoulders to explain how you could not
get them a present for their birthday, only for your child
to tell you that they understand and that you will get it next time when money is not tight."

So what are some of the signs to look out for?

Mofokeng says these are some of the typical behaviours of an old-soul child:

Children typically love other children's company, and the old-soul child may prefer their own company. You may even find them having an entire conversation by themselves or even laughing at their own inside jokes;

The old-soul kids tend to typically have the why, when and how infused into their everyday vocabulary. They do not question authority, but tend to want to understand how certain things came to be;

Usually, the old-soul child has a memory like an elephant, and will remind you as the parent of things that you may have pushed out of your mind.

This is because they are typically observant and internalise things; and

While most kids would opt to pout or use the silent treatment to exhibit that they are angry or upset, the old-soul child may surprise you by offering a heartfelt, articulate apology or even tell you how you hurt their feelings.

Mofokeng says that while these characteristics may make it easier to get along with your child, the downside is that they may not fit in with other kids and may be subjected to being ostracised by their peers or even experience bullying.

"It is your job as the parent to pay close attention to the child considered an old soul so that society does not make them feel like a freak of nature.

"While you cannot help society's actions, your constant reassurance of your child that they are brilliant and special will go a long way in cementing their self esteem," she said.

Mofokeng also cautions against parents overlooking odd behaviour. She advises that, if the parents are not sure, that they rather consult an child psychologist.