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Strengthening Families!
Understanding Child Development

Review: General Ideas about Children

Innately Evil
beat the devil out of them

Innately Good
innocent only corruptible by a corrupted society (including parents)

Blank Slate
shaped by experiences in this life

temperament is present at birth, influenced by experience

individuals can construct their lives by working around or with biology and experience

Compiled by Michael R. Whitehead, LMFT - 2013


Review: Cycle of emotional closeness

Emotional Closeness

Responsive/ Unresponsive Recognize Opportunity for Closeness


Emotional Distance

Proper Expectations
Elder Neal A. Maxwell:
a tutoring God may require difficult things of His children [but he] would never command His children to do difficult things, except [He] first prepares the way (1 Nephi 3:7).

Unrealistic expectations are often the result of not understanding proper developmental milestones. Results of unrealistic parental expectations:
Children feel like failures Children are frozen in future attempts Disappointment and frustration toward children

Compiled by Michael R. Whitehead, LMFT - 2013


from grace to grace

Every child is unique:
Learn and progress individually Most often differences disappear as children grow Value the time with each, refrain from worrying or bragging about little differences

Adapt your methods to theirs, not the other way around

Walking Potty Training Sports (bicycle, soccer, basketball) Chores

Ages and Stages

Taken from various theorists
Piaget Erickson Kohlberg Bowlby And others

To be used as guidelines not rules! Some cautions

Compiled by Michael R. Whitehead, LMFT - 2013


Learning to Trust (infancy)

Trust helps attachment
Response to cues increases trust Increased trust leads to secure attachment Lack of responsiveness lead to anxious or insecure attachment
TV (media), or Compulsive behavior, or Sexual indulgence, or Drug use, or Other destructive behavior

Developing Independence (1-3)

Children need to learn control
Eating Sleeping Toilet

Bodily exploration (A Parents Guide)

Teach anatomical names Teach respect for body parts Be calm in your response to questions and actions

Compiled by Michael R. Whitehead, LMFT - 2013


Channeling Initiative (3-6)

Fantasy play is big in this stage
Lots of energy Imitate parental behaviors
Learn a lot about your behavior by watching children interact with others

Express large emotions

Correct response brings acceptance of emotion and self regulation

Structure is important
Lack of clear boundaries creates unease Children will test boundaries for firmness

Learning Industry (6-12)

Confidence building
Begin to compare themselves with others
Dont need parents to do it as well

Acceptance for who they are Express love and acceptance often

Love to help out

Take advantage of this

Limits and Latitude big

Children should begin to have some say in the rules and consequences

Compiled by Michael R. Whitehead, LMFT - 2013


Independence Revisited (12-18)

As in the first independence stage, bodily exploration happens
Proper response increases moral development

Parental availability is important

Drop everything if your child wants to talk Validate their experience as real

Adolescent Myths
Invincible Fable Imaginary Audience Personal Fable

The end result of a loving relationship between parent and child is separation!

Learning Activity
Compare your child's developmental ability to your expectations of them. Are you expecting too much? How can you change this?

Compiled by Michael R. Whitehead, LMFT - 2013


Some signs of trouble

By age two
Cannot walk Cannot push a wheeled toy

By age four
Speaks unclearly Shows little interest in others No pretend play Difficulty separating from mother Cannot ride tricycle Difficulty separating from parents Difficulty in emotional self regulation Wets/soils bed

By age six

By age eight
Cannot tell time Noncompliant to authority figures Avoids school

At any age
Blames others for personal mistakes Bullies, threatens or fights with others Cruelty to animals or people Overly interested in sexual activity

Compiled by Michael R. Whitehead, LMFT - 2013


Realistic Expectations
I do, you watch I do, you help You do, I help You do, I watch Independence!

Responding to Behavior
Know your children Respond with love and patience
Ignore the little things
Respond calm

Only address:
Life threatening Harming behavior

Dont take things personal

This invites rebellion

Happens the best when you spend time with them

Compiled by Michael R. Whitehead, LMFT - 2013


Practice: Normal or Abnormal?

6 Year Old
Swearing like a sailor, biting and hitting kids in school. Disobedient to parents and teachers. Wants his/her way all of the time.

Practice: Normal or Abnormal?

10 Year Old
Smokes. Spend all of their time out of the home with friends. Ignoring parents and authority figures. Sleeps or skips school.

Compiled by Michael R. Whitehead, LMFT - 2013


What Questions do you have? Be sure to get the participant guide and/or handouts. Next presentation will be Friday, May 3rd
Communicating with Love!

Compiled by Michael R. Whitehead, LMFT - 2013