by Madison Longchamp, MS, APC

Child development is complex and can be difficult for parents to navigate. Often parents find themselves basing what is “typical” on their child’s siblings, their neighbor’s kids, or a quick google search. Understanding what is typical at your child’s age and what may warrant seeking some extra help can make all the difference. Development continually builds upon itself. If your child gets stuck, they may fall further behind.

To understand development, we must remember that it is cyclical not linear.

Children go through periods of complete mayhem during which parents wonder where their sweet child has gone and if they’re ever coming back and periods during which parents see tremendous growth and are often so relieved that they made it through a rough patch. Then this cycle repeats.

The reasons behind this cycle can be many, but overall, as children grow they are constantly having to figure out entirely new abilities. Their bodies get larger and they must re-learn how to use them or their brains become more aware and they have to re-learn how to understand the world around them. Thinking about it this way, we can see how challenging development could be and why children might have some difficulty adjusting to new growth at first. The goal of understanding your child and where they are developmentally is to not overreact to things that are normal and healthy for their development and to notice when your child might need a little extra help.

Let me outline a few typical behaviors that may surprise you.

Age 6:

Some behaviors at age 6 can be concerning for parents but are actually quite normal and children usually develop out of them by age 7. Bed wetting or accidents at this age are very common. Children age 6 often begin lying. This can be very stressful for adults but is not anything to be overly concerned about unless the behavior persists beyond what is developmentally appropriate. Children typically begin exhibiting more defiant behaviors at this age. They are beginning to seek more independence and struggle to find a better way to do this at first.

Age 9:

Children at age 9 typically begin exhibiting greater anxiety about school performance and have more frequent worries in general. Self-criticism and avoidance of situations in which they think they may fail begin surfacing. Children at this age are becoming much more aware of their peers, expectations, and social structures. When figuring this out at first, it’s not unusual for children to feel some anxiety and self-doubt.

Age 11:

Children age 11 often exhibit unpredictable mood swings and more social problems as they seek to find belonging within their social groups and find activities that make them feel confident and competent. Children at this age have a much higher sensitivity to feeling embarrassed in front of peers or in public when being corrected. They also tend to argue with adults more often. They’re brains are developing and have a much greater capacity for logical thinking and they are trying to figure out how that fits with authority figures.

When to Seek Help

Some general rules of thumb about when to seek help are if your child’s behavior or abilities seem significantly different from their peers, you feel like you need some parenting support about what’s going on with your child, or you feel you and your child’s relationship is strained or disconnected. Some other reasons you may want to seek support are your child has experienced a traumatic event or a significant transition, any of these challenges are prolonged or you think your child may be having difficulty dealing with them, your child seems socially discouraged, they seem overwhelmed, or anything is interfering with their daily functioning.

Fortunately, your child can be successful in overcoming all of these developmental challenges and development also comes with moments of growth will make you and your child feel so proud.

Join me for a webinar>>>>>>where I will talk more about development, what’s typical and what’s not, and give some tips about how to respond when your child’s behavior is stressful, but normal and what you can do when you think your child might need a little support.

Madison Longchamp, MS, APC I am a Licensed Associate Professional Counselor. I received my Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology from The University of Alabama and my Master’s of Science degree in Psychology and Clinical Counseling from Brenau University. I have research experience in child development and education and experience providing and interpreting psychological and cognitive assessments.

Learn more about Madison and how she can help your child here!

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