Is My Child Behind?
As parents, most of us are used to getting our child’s weight and height percentile and their developmental status at regular doctor appointment, but wherever they land, don’t let development worry nag you into parental paranoia. Here are a few tips for addressing your child’s development.
Know The Standards
Understanding what the standards are and where to get the correct information is very important. Make sure that you are getting your information from reputable sources and not iffy articles online. And it can’t help to run information that you find by your doctor to make sure that it is accurate. Also make sure that you are educating yourself on all the stages of development so that you are aware of their importance and the impact later on this will help your discussions with your doctor go smoother so that you know what to expect and can ask those important questions.
Avoid Comparing to Other Children
Comparing to those around us is one of the easiest forms of benchmarking that we can do. It can be easy to see if your child is developing ahead, behind, or right on schedule when you compare to other children. But the issue with doing this is that this can give you a false sense of their development. They can potentially get held back from developing correctly if you are comparing to other children that may be developing behind. Every child is going to develop differently and have unique challenges. That is why having developmental standards instead of comparing to other children that are going through their own process is important.
Beware of Online Articles
I know this seems a little hypocritical since this is an online article, but I think you know what I mean. Plenty of web writers get higher traffic by creating fear-based gloom-and-doom articles that end up scaring parents needlessly. Also, many of these writers have little to no background in child development. It’s very important to consider your source when you read anything online. Make sure that you do your research and don’t believe everything you read.
Note of Any Concerns for Their Next Doctor’s Appointment
As we discussed, every child develops differently, but that is no reason to suppress your concerns. If you have any worries about your child’s development you should take those to you doctor. They will be able to go through everything with you and make appropriate adjustments. Once your doctor addresses your concerns, if you still feel uncertain or disagree with their conclusion, don’t be afraid to get a second opinion or request an appointment with a specialist.
Talk to Teachers
Teachers and care providers can be a great resource for more information about your child’s behavior and skills. It is important however to remember that your child’s teacher is not a doctor and should not be expected to diagnose a developmental delay or anything else. Teachers can provide wonderful insight on your child, but should not attempt to give medical advise or assert a particular diagnosis.
When Challenges Arise
If your child does end up having trouble in a particular area, it is very important to be both positive and proactive. Whether it is a temporary setback or a more complex diagnosis, the goal of everyone (parents, teachers, doctors, therapists) is to help your child succeed. This may mean a different approach to behavior or learning but it shouldn’t be a source of fear or shame for either you or your child.
Above all – don’t allow concerns over whether your child is ahead or behind their peers negatively impact their self-esteem. The fact is, we are all different and each individual has unique challenges and gifts that help to make us who we are – and that’s a beautiful thing.