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Life at a child’s pace

As a parent, you’ve probably asked yourself one (or both) of the following questions in regards to your child’s overall development:

“What should my child know?”

“What should my child be doing?”

There is no harm in these questions, because as parents we simply want the best for our children. These questions typically come to mind around the time our children enter the school system, due to increased time outside of the home environment as well as exposure to other children. Both factors manifest huge transitions for the entire family, but the opportunity to compare one child to another becomes almost impossible to avoid at this point. You may think to yourself: “My child is still wetting the bed at night,  yet (a child the same age or younger) isn’t.” So you innocently ask a friend or relative these questions out of curiosity and instead of a conversation around the growth of children, receive a laundry list of all the amazing things their young child can do. Where does that leave you?

I want us to return to the questions in the opening and bring attention to the use of the word “should” . The word “should”, as listed in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary,  is used to express obligation or something that is probable or expected. Now let’s change the questions to include these ideas:

“What is expected of my child?”

“What is my child obligated to do?”

Wow! No wonder children feel so much pressure to perform and parents feel the need to be competitive with each other! Perhaps we can take a step back and remember that a child’s intelligence isn’t measured by his/her bladder control or that a child’s happiness isn’t exponentially greater as the list of amazing things he/she can do grows. We can also give ourselves a break and remember that the role of parent does not come with an instruction manual because there is no one way to fulfill the role. As parents, we can make our life journey, as well as that of our children, easier if we try remember:

–          if you are worried, ask your pediatrician and he/she will point you in the correct direction

–          talking to other parents is great, but find a group that are like-minded and supportive

–          each child develops at his/her own pace, rushing does not always lead to quick results

–          our children grow up so fast, why rush it more?

Happy parenting,

Ms. K

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