This is the final post in my three-post series on the nuts and bolts of successfully working with your child. This post is devoted to the topic of what steps you, as the parent, can take to minimize your own frustrations and anxiety about your child’s development.
If you are just joining me, please visit my previous posts Nuts and Bolts of Working With Your Child and Tips to Maximize Your Child’s Successes and Minimize His Frustrations.
Minimize Your Frustrations and Anxiety
To help minimize your possible frustrations and anxiety about your child’s development, consider the following two tips:
It’s normal for children to excel in one area but lag in another. Children learn the same way they grow physically – on their own curves and in spurts. Skills in one developmental area, for example, may come easily to your child while skills in another developmental area may present a greater challenge. While this is completely normal, it often causes parents undue frustration and anxiety.
You know your child well and are in the best position to decide when he is ready to engage in a specific activity. For example, your three-year-old child may quickly master advanced fine motor skills like cutting curved lines and writing letters yet need extra time when developing gross motor skills like hopping on one foot or skipping. Again, this is totally normal. It is common for a wonderfully prepared child to begin preschool or kindergarten excelling in certain developmental areas but still lagging slightly behind or being on-par with their peers in other developmental areas. In fact, it would actually be surprising to see a young child excel in all 8 Key Developmental Areas right off the bat.
Don’t believe everything you hear. In my experience, nearly all parents misrepresent, exaggerate or otherwise fudge the truth regarding their child’s development. As parents, we often see only the best in our children and while intentional or unintentional, these overstatements and misrepresentations are all too common.
To accommodate this fact, I recommend that – as much as practical – you avoid talking to other parents about their child’s development. Learning of their child’s newest, greatest and (most likely) embellished accomplishment will only cause you to compare that child with your child’s newest, greatest yet unembellished accomplishment. The result may unnecessarily make you feel insecure about your child’s progress. Also, this information may encourage you to push your child to attempt activities for which he is not yet developmentally ready, which could have the negative effect of undermining his confidence as he struggles with those advanced activities. When that happens, you risk allowing your child to begin a self-fulfilling cycle of failure.