You Can’t Rush Development

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Babies are gonna learn to walk when they’re ready to walk.

Preschoolers are gonna learn to use the potty when they’re ready to use the potty.

Kids are gonna learn to read when they’re ready to read.

Teenagers are gonna learn to make responsible choices when they’re ready to make responsible choices.

Every single stage has its challenges and its developmental goals. Growing is a process and as frustrating as it often is, it’s got its own timeline.

Do you know when parents are most likely to lose it with their kids?

  • Bedtime
  • Bathtime
  • Dinnertime
  • Getting out the door time

Want to know why? Those are all times when developmental demands clash with parental expectations. Those are all times of transition when whatever is driving you most crazy about your kid — their stubbornness, their distractibility, their need to test limits — are most likely to show up. You have a goal to get them to bed or get them clean or feed them or get to work on time and their goal is rooted in Big Picture child development.

You cannot rush development, you can only encourage it.

Want to know the number one way to encourage your child to grow? Assume that they are growing (i.e, unfinished).

Ross Greene says, “Kids do well if they can.” Which means if they aren’t doing well then they can’t. Argh. Yelling won’t make them grow faster. Threatening them won’t make them grow faster. Punishment doesn’t make them grow faster.

Now this doesn’t mean you have to throw up your hands and give up, letting them decide bedtimes, bath times, what you serve for dinner and when you leave for work. It means, though, that you accept that a big part of parenting is necessarily frustrating. KIDS ARE FRUSTRATING! Yes! I know! Because they are growing and your goal is to get them tucked into bed so you can finally have a moment to yourself but it might be, if they’re four and learning the limits of their control over your behavior (an actual developmental task for a 4-year old) then their goal is try to get you to stay in their room for as long as humanly possible. No wonder you’re both having such a lousy time!

One of the workshops in the You Are Not Your Mother membership site digs into child development and other ways to understand your child so that you won’t feel as frustrated. Well, you’ll still be frustrated as you think longingly of your kindle, sitting unread while your 4-year old continues to loudly protest your leaving their room but you’ll be able to come up with some ideas to handle it based on what you know your 4-year old needs. Or you might find yourself feeling more patient when you know this is pretty dang typical for 4-year olds.

As part of our community, you’ll learn all of the details of the Problem Solving Parenting process AND we’ll work it together on the message boards and on twice monthly group coaching calls and you’ll be able to send me a private message if you feel like you could use some extra help. In other words, you will not be alone! This stuff is hard to figure out but together, we can do it! Sign up for my newsletter so you’ll be the first to know when it launches.

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