One of the many joys of parenting are those moments when you finally figure out what makes your kids tick...and then they go and spoil it by changing. Kids are an ever changing, growing and maturing challenge. Understanding that things will change can help parents weather tough stages and prepare for the next.
Many power struggles emerge when there is a disparity between children’s ability and parents’ expectations. If you find yourself saying things like, "They should KNOW by now..." or "What was he thinking?" its a good bet that your expectations were off. Even though each child is unique, there are particular milestones and ways that they perceive information that most will achieve around the same time of childhood. Understanding these benchmarks give us a leg up in adjusting our expectations of what our particular child might bring to our family.
Learning to think developmentally takes time. Some ways to begin the process are:
Hang out with your kids in between times when we need to accomplish "family business." The more we get our kids talking, the more we can begin to understand how they perceive the world.
Developmental stages tend to roughly progress by age, but can vary depending on different factors, so knowing your child is important. Keeping informed about what the majority of children achieve at a certain stage can help us understand our child's exceptions to the norms more completely.
Sometimes we get tricked into using outdated understandings of our children. Remind yourself that some of your understanding of your children is from younger stages and consider if you need to upgrade your beliefs.
Try to temper your frustration with behavior at a particular stage by reminding yourself it will pass (and crossing your fingers you’ll like the next one better!)
Teachers, school counselors and pediatricians are natural resources to help understand our children as they grow. Don't be too shy to ask. If you have questions or concerns about your infant, consider contacting your local birth to three program. Typically, they will provide and assessment or consultation for no cost.
Moving in Harmony is currently providing a series of fun parenting classes that will help parents adapt to their children across the lifespan. Please join us or call us to get more information!