Child Development For The New Age
The Age Of Accountability
Life is filled with expectations.When a child is born, the parents are instructed to take the child to the pediatrician. In the first four years of life, the physician will check developmental milestones. Developmental milestones involve the child's development in abilities: hearing, speech, bodily movements, such as fine eye and hand coordination, and gross motor movements such rolling over, sitting, pulling oneself up, kneeling, crawling, standing, and walking, hopping, jumping, and skipping. Each child is different in their own way. As a mother, I remember keeping a record of when my children came to be at all these developmental milestones.
The Influence Of Early Education
After the child enters a certain age in school, the teacher becomes the record keeper of developmental milestones involving learning and responsibility level. Keeping in good communication with the school teachers about their child's academic/character records is influential on the amount of responsibility a child can handle. I think that schools should provide training for the responsibility levels that certain youngsters may portray.
For example, a middle school age child's mother has a new baby. Should that child between the age of ten and thirteen be instructed in a formal school environment how to help mother to care for the infant sibling? Psychology courses are not provided for the junior level student, but I think that parents of children in these circumstances should be influenced by the educator, who may need to know the social situation of the child in order to understand their progress in educational skills.
Another milestone in a child's life could be the unfortunate event of becoming a parent. No one wants to address that their little daughter or son could become a parent, but as the statistics of teenage pregnancy arises, parents should be supportive of the educational tools utilized by the school system to inform the youngsters. What is to become of their personal physical awareness, they need to understand the consequences of their experience. It is good to have verbal openness between parents and their children about their relationships with their peers and other older individuals in their lives who may be influencing them. (I can only hope that the statistic of children who become raped will go down.)
The middle teen years are exciting and full of life in a healthy individuals life.This is the time for exploring their interests, and developing social bonds with peers that sometimes last for the rest of their lives. The milestone of life long planning in education, employment, financial gain, and becoming active in the social world is upon the child between the ages of 14 and 18.
The ability to drive a motor vehicle, to vote in a political election, to participate in social forums, to work, to have a bank account, and to become responsible within intimate relationships, and to plan a future are some of the things that a teenager thinks about.
This Is A New Age
Technology has put the progress for a developing young world in a tailspin. Computers, Notebooks, E-books, I-pods, I-pads, I-phones, I-Tunes, Mobile websites, Free downloadable software, and social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, and My Space: this is normal everyday vocabulary for the educated teenager. The children of parents that support these technological ways of life have got a wonderful opportunity there. But I still believe that becoming a volunteer to help people, one on one, is the best education to have. Activity such as devoting time in the centers for the elderly, in hospitals, or working for their local parks and recreation to assist in community help is great.Other ways to keep a teen active: to start a small business offering help, such as car washing, grocery delivery to the elderly, pet walking/grooming, bicycle/ toy repair, babysitting, house sitting, or even being a tutor.
Projecting A Voice
Youngsters have opinions and want to express themselves. The old saying, "children to be seen and not heard" definitely will not apply to today. It is good to know what they are saying, provided they do not abuse the social media with foul language and rude behavior. That is influenced by the behavior projected by the parents. For example, a mother who hates to use foul language, may see the behavior of her children to reflect that. And those young adults who decide to express themselves inappropriately could be just a tad rebellious or think that free speech should be a part of their nature.
In regard to local and worldly issues, in politics and even in changes in the economy and the choice of religion and spiritual values, the educated teenager should be able to make up their mind, and be a part of the voting process.
Limits and Expectations Are Good Always
I remember when I was growing up, I was told, "not now, you are too young". "Wait until you are a little older" or, "that is not necessary, you still live at home". I am the last born of my parents' children. So watching my brothers was what I did, and I waited until I was ready for things. It is okay to let your child be a child as long as they want to. I did not give up my dolls until I was going to high school, and even when going to live away at college, I took a stuffed bear with me, making me feel secure. Watching cartoons on television or in the movies, and kissing my parents every night when I lived with them did not make me childish, but gave me a sense of security that part of my childhood still stayed with me.
Allowing a child of fifteen to take driving lessons is not a standard. If a child does not portray the ability to understand basic car safety, and the eye-hand-mind coordination is underdeveloped or an issue, then it is better to wait. In my personal experience, I am not bitter toward my parents for not allowing me to drive until I knew I was ready.
It is always good to discuss with the teenager what is important to them. The old television programs called, "Father Knows Best" and "the Cosby Show" are good programs to watch that demonstrate how parents talk to their children about social issues that they deal with. Being a strict parent shouting "do's and don'ts" is not healthy without making sure that the child understands the consequences of their actions. They will learn to like their parents when time is spent talking to them.
It is obvious to see that the personal nature of a parent or their caregiver and their behaviors that are observed by the children do have an influence on when the reach the age of accountability.