Childhood milestones are a source of pride and happiness for most of us as parents, and rightfully so. First smiles, first steps, learning to ride a bike, and learning to swim, to name just a few. We marvel as our children begin to speak and read, and grow into increasingly independent beings. It is very natural to have feelings of happiness and joy from watching our children’s growth and development. But sometimes, we turn these natural milestones into a competition, and that’s something very unnatural.
Just as we expect babies to roll over, crawl, and walk in their own time, so too should we expect that our children will learn and mature and develop at their own unique pace. We shouldn’t compare our children’s grades, or test scores or athletic ability to that of another child any more than we should compare behaviors or attitudes or maturity levels. Every child will develop and learn in his or her own time. The lesson then, is really for us as parents. We need to acknowledge and accept that it that it is okay to be patient as our children move through childhood on their own unique path.
It is okay that our child will not learn and grow at the same rate as our neighbor’s or our boss’s or our sister’s children. Give yourself the permission to relax and expect challenges, setbacks, and missed benchmarks. Allow your children to be little, and when they are big, they will know how to be.
Editor, Ask Lala
Laura Fogarty writes “Ask Lala” for the Stop Abuse Campaign. She is a mother, an advocate and the author of two children’s abuse prevention books: I’M THE BOSS OF ME! and WE ARE JUST ALIKE!