Child development and parenting
Stages of child development
Why it is common for two year-olds to throw temper tantrums. to sulk and to provoke their parents over and over again? Why many four year-olds create imaginary monsters to scare themselves?
A child is going through the stages as he or she grows up and each stage has its set of characteristics. All stages are equally important and the task of a parent is to support a child all the way through by establishing a safe environment for him/her to grow, to test limits and to explore and to experience maximum development of spontaneity and creativity.
At every stage, a child is completing certain tasks and answering certain questions appropriate for this age. If some tasks are not completed and questions remain unanswered, it may affect a person’s behaviour in later life. Experiences and decisions made at each stage shape an adult’s ability to face the life’s challenges.
The Prenatal Stage lays the groundwork for all the stages to follow. Jean Illsley Clarke and Connie Dawson highlight important aspects of it in their book “Growing Up Again” (1998, Hazelden).
Child development – Second Stage
Here I would like to talk about a second stage. From birth to six months or, as it is often referred to – ‘Being’
The most significant thing that happens in the first few months of the life of infants is that they discover that they exist. They find out their extremities and limitations, they learn that there is a part of the world which they are not.
But they are not yet aware of their separateness from the mother.
It is during this stage that the child is deciding to be, to live, to thrive, to trust, to call out to have needs met, to expect to have needs met, to be joyful. It is the task of a parent to support these decisions.
Child development – Parenting Dos Don’ts:
- Accept child, be glad of his/her arrival, be confident, gentle, give as much as needed and not more.
- Touch, massage, hold often.
- Get rest, take care of self.
- Respond before crying.
- Be unresponsive, tense, loud.
- Punish, discipline or isolate
The main question addressed at the stage one is:
Is it OK for me to be here, to make my needs known, and to be cared for?
To help us guide our baby successfully through the first stage we can use Affirmations. Affirmation is anything we say or do for others to let them know that we believe they are lovable and capable. (J.L.Clarke, C.Dawson, Growing Up Again, 1989, p.217. Affirmations can be delivered by look, word or deed.
Here is a list of affirmations for Being:
- You have a right to be here.
- Your needs are OK with me.
- I’m glad you are a boy/girl.
- You don’t have to hurry, you can take your time.
- I like to hold you, to be near you and to touch you.
Affirmations can be used to help not only children, but also grown-ups in need of support and reassurance.
If you would like to find out more about development of your child, I would recommend the following books:
Erikson, E. (1950) Childhood and Society. New York, Norton.
Freed, A. (1977) TA for Kids. Sacramento, Jalmar Press.
Mahler, Pine and Bergman. (1975) The Psychological Birth of the Human Infant. NY. Basic Books.
Schiff, J.L. (1975) Cathexis Reader. NY. Harper & Row.
Stern, D.N. (1985) The Interpersonal World of the Infant. New York, Basic Books.
Winnicott, D.W. (1957) The Child, The Family and the Outside World. Harmondsworth, Penguin.
|About The Author
Anna Storey is a Transactional Analysis Counsellor. She works from Thame, seeing clients from surrounding counties of Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Berkshire. Anna is also working via email with her international clients.
For more information and contact details visit Anna’s therapy page here