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Our Parenting Alphabet - D for Development



What stage of emotional development is your child at?


Knowing more about when and how children develop those important and keenly awaited prosocial behaviours such as empathy, the ability to manage impulses, and emotional literacy, can help parents and carers to understand their child better. As a children's therapist, I have quite often found that parents can hold pretty unrealistic expectations of their child's emotional development, feeding into frustrations about their child's behaviour.


The fact is, that children are not mini adults. They have brand new, immature brains, which develop directly in relation to the world around them. For example, a 6 year old is still learning about consequences, and a 4 year old is naturally egocentric. Most often, our children are doing the best they can within their ability at the time.



Let's have a look at psychologist Erik Eriksons 8 stages of Psychosocial development throughout life.


Age

Conflict

Important Events

Outcome

Infancy (birth to 18 months)

Trust vs. Mistrust

 Feeding

Hope

Early Childhood (2 to 3 years)

Autonomy vs. Shame and Doubt

Toilet Training

Will

Preschool (3 to 5 years)

Initiative vs. Guilt

Exploration

Purpose

School Age (6 to 11 years)

Industry vs. Inferiority

School

Confidence

Adolescence (12 to 18 years)

Identity vs. Role Confusion

Social Relationships

Fidelity

Young Adulthood (19 to 40 years)

Intimacy vs. Isolation

Relationships

Love

Middle Adulthood (40 to 65 years)

Generativity vs. Stagnation

Work and Parenthood

Care

Maturity (65 to death)

Ego Integrity vs. Despair

Reflection on Life

Wisdom


In the growing brain, we can help to build positive neural pathways and help our child to successfully move through each stage. For example, we can support our child's development through stage 3 (preschool age) by giving plenty of opportunities for our child to explore their world within our safe limits, use their initiative, make mistakes without shame, and experience success. Stage 4 (school age) is when we want to help them to develop their strengths and find areas in which they can shine as they naturally compare themselves to others and come to make sense of their place in the world.


So, keep your child's stage of emotional development in mind as they learn to navigate the world around them.


They will get through this, and so will you.

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