Are you finding your child’s behaviour is getting out of control, even though you have tried everything?
Have you noticed they are acting different to other children around them, and it has crossed your mind that something isn’t quite right?
All parents go through it. The struggle of raising a young child, teaching them right from wrong whilst trying to stay calm and persist with guiding them in the right direction, even through the tantrums and them constant saying ‘no’. It’s trying on a parent, and you may find yourself questioning, “are other kids this age the same?”. If you’re noticing that your child is acting out, the tantrums are getting out of control, they put themself at risk, or possibly your child withdraws themself socially and doesn’t interact well with other kids, there may be a reason for these behaviours.
We easily tend to observe and notice physical and language development in children, however other developmental milestones including emotional and social ones, are just as important and significant in a child’s early life. They can be very challenging to observe directly as they often involve abstract and subtle skills that require observation. You also need multiple opportunities to observe these skills that can develop slowly over time. So how as a parent can you determine if your child is where they should be with their social and emotional development? Here are some guideline milestones for children aged 18 months – 5 years.
Milestones for Ages 18mths to 3 years
- Playing independently (often imitating adult actions)
- Act pleased when they have accomplished something
- Express emotions such as anger and frustration
- Beginning to advocate for self by being assertive, trying to direct the actions of others and saying “no” to adults
- Enjoy watching and playing with other children
- Become defensive about their own possessions
- Using objects symbolically during play (e.g., using one object to represent another)
- Have rapid changes in mood
- Have rapid changes in mood
- Beginning to recognise and name feelings, and are showing interest in how others are feeling
Milestones for Ages 3 years to 5 years
- Become more confident and independent with various activities
- Follow directions given by carers most of the time
- Perform some tasks with little or no assistance
- Share toys independently
- Make up games and ask other children to join in
- Beginning to engage in pretend play, and starting to engage in dramatic, imaginative play with other children
- Beginning to understand basic differences between appropriate and inappropriate behaviours
- Developing friendships with other children
- Beginning to compare themselves to other children and adults
- Becoming aware of other people’s feelings
CHECKLIST TO DETERMINE IF YOUR CHILD’S EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT IS OF CONCERN
IF YOU’VE CHECKED MORE THAN HALF OF THE ABOVE, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO?
- Note down some data on your child’s behaviour – log stressors, duration, frequency, behaviours and consequences of behaviour in order to see what patterns occur
- Try to model self-regulation for your child – for example, show your child how you can do a frustrating task without getting upset. You could say something like, “Wow that was hard. I’m glad I didn’t get angry as I wouldn’t have been able to do it”.
- Praise your child when they show self-control and follow the rules. Descriptive praise will tell them what they have done well. e.g. “You were great at waiting for your turn”, or “I liked the way that you shared with Sam when he asked”.
If you have tried these tips but feel things are not changing, engaging with an expert Child Psychologist allows you to develop a complete understanding of what is happening with your child, and why they behave the way they do. A psychologist will work together with you to create strategies to reduce the reactions and behaviours your child has, and over time develop their social and emotional side so they are happier and interact well with other adults and children.
We believe wise minds make wise decisions, so let us help you. Contact us today.