Monday, March 19, 2012

Wondering Wednesday - Age-Appropriate Expectations

I have random mommy-guilt attacks. My latest has been, "Maybe I'm expecting too much from Raccoon. Maybe I'm being too hard on him." I know I'm supposed to keep in mind what is age-appropriate, but his development is often all over the place (also called asynchronous), so how do I decide what is "reasonable?"

I like the PBS milestones because they're more holistic than many other sites, and go beyond the baby years. Knowing what a general toddler is working on helps me figure out where Raccoon needs some help, where he's doing fine, and what might be next. Keeping my expectations reasonable for his asynchronous development is a challenge, to say the least. What behavior do I let slide? What should we work on?

I have two rules that pretty much cover most situations:
*Listen and obey
*Be nice

When I read the PBS list, I feel like he doesn't sing or scribble enough. I also know that I jump in too quickly to help him, mostly to prevent meltdowns. When I back off, my perfectionism gets in the way. Note to self: Let him fail more. I shudder even writing that, because I can already hear his ear-piercing wails when the things he's trying to do don't turn out the way he wants the first time.

A paragraph about play, "...enjoy playing alongside other children, but usually keep to themselves. When conflicts arise, adults need to step in to prevent aggression and teach appropriate behaviors. Children this age are beginning to label feelings that they recognize in themselves and others. Controlling emotions is still difficult, however, so frustration may trigger emotional meltdowns. Comfort objects like blankets or teddy bears help (them) cope with new situations or strong emotions."

Good to know.

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