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The Task of Childhood Development – Ages 8-18

Boys on a forest road with backpacks

“The major task of childhood is to become “your own person”

The main tasks of childhood require children to learn, and this kind of learning is not just a matter of getting the right answer. Most important is to understand the meaning of the right answer. This is truly difficult work and it absolutely requires support from parents, relatives, and neighbors.

To help children grow up, parents need to be aware how their child is changing, growing, and developing. It is easy for a middle-aged adult to forget this fact, especially when confronted with a difficult problem. However, parents who are working on their own growth are in a good position to understand children and to respect what they are doing as they struggle to grow up and become good people in their own right.

Children progression through these stages is determined not only by biological growth and change, but also by temperament and personality, adult expectations, and social influences. Children learn to make choices and commitments, follow through with them, and stand up independently in the world. They need to be respected for taking on these tasks. After all, we respect adults who can do these things. They are complicated and courageous actions. However, children swing back and forth between dependence and independence as they work on these tasks. It is easy for parents to get frustrated. It is also easy for a parent to assume that if the child would simply follow the plan that makes sense to a parent, things would be all right in the end.

“Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them.”
-Richard L. Evans


Understanding your child’s moral, emotional, and self-development – the main tasks of childhood require children to learn, and this kind of learning is not just a matter of getting the right answer. Most important is to understand the meaning of the right answer. This is truly difficult work and it absolutely requires support from parents, relatives, and neighbors.

To help children grow up, parents need to be aware how their child is changing, growing, and developing. It is easy for a middle-aged adult to forget this fact, especially when confronted with a difficult problem. However, parents who are working on their own growth are in a good position to understand children and to respect what they are doing as they struggle to grow up and become good people in their own right.

My next blogs will include the characteristics of the “typical” child during each developmental stage from ages 8 to 18, including: Late Childhood 8-11, Early Adolescents 11-14, and Late Adolescents 14-18. Illustrating how children’s progression through these stages is determined not only by biological growth and change, but also by temperament and personality, adult expectations, and social influences.

You can download the complete “Task of Childhood” brochure

4 Blog Series 

  1. Task of Childhood Development
  2. Tasks of Childhood – Late Childhood Development Ages 8-11
  3. Task of Childhood – Early Adolescent Development Ages 11-14
  4. Task of Childhood – Late Adolescent Development Ages 14-18 

† Source: Middle Childhood and Adolescent Development, Oregon State University Extension Service.

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about Kaleidoscope Counseling please call 214-499-0396

Dr Trotter also post regularly on her: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

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Task of Childhood – Late Adolescent Development Ages 14-18

“Struggling with sense of identity while also feeling awkward”

Cognitive Stage
Late adolescents have a major broadening of thinking abilities: they can think abstractly and hypothetically; they can discern the underlying principles of various phenomena and apply them to new situations; and they can think about the future, considering many possibilities and logical outcomes of possible events. At this stage, they also have a greater perspective-taking ability that can result in increased empathy and concern for others and a new interest in societal issues.

Moral Development
As they get older, adolescents age 14-18 become less egocentric. They place an increased emphasis on abstract values and moral principles and some develop a “principled morality” with an increased ability to take another’s perspective where they can see the bigger societal picture and might value moral principles over laws. Late adolescents also have different rates of cognitive and emotional development (e.g. they often advocate for specific values and yet violate them at the same time).

Self-Concept
The process of identity formation is intense for late adolescents. They experiment with different roles, such as looks, sexuality, values, friendships, ethnicity, and especially occupations. Some girls might experience obsessive dieting or eating disorders, especially those who have higher body fat, are chronically depressed, or who have highly conflicted family relationships. Minority youths might explore several patterns of identity formation, such as a strong ethnic identity, bi-cultural identity, assimilation into the majority culture, and alienation from the majority culture.

Psychological and Emotional Traits
For some early adolescents, there is an increased ability to empathize with others along with a greater vulnerability to worrying, depression, and concern for others, (especially among girls). Many show an increase in responsible behaviors.

Peer Relationships
Peers help youth explore and develop their own identity and cross-gender friendships become more common. Anti-social peer groups can increase anti-social behaviors. Close friendships also help youth with the process of developing an individual identity separate from that of a child in a family.

Relationship to Parents and Other Adults
Conflicts with parents often decrease with age, especially as late adolescents have an improved ability to see parents as individuals and consider their perspectives. Most maintain good relationship with their parents. They also have a greater interest in taking on “adult-type” responsibilities (having their own checking account, doing their own laundry, buying their own clothes, cooking meals, making repairs, etc.). Late adolescents commonly make most of their own decisions, preparing for eventual family. Their needs balance between time spent with adults and with peers. They continue to benefit from some parental limits and monitoring, while often objecting to them. Common conflicts occur over money, curfews, chores, appearance, and activities with peers.

You can download the complete “Task of Childhood” brochure

4 Blog Series 

  1. Task of Childhood Development
  2. Tasks of Childhood – Late Childhood Development Ages 8-11
  3. Task of Childhood – Early Adolescent Development Ages 11-14
  4. Task of Childhood – Late Adolescent Development Ages 14-18 

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about her counseling practice, you can contact her at: Kay@KayTrotter.com214-499-0396, or visit her web site http://www.KayTrotter.com.

Dr Trotter also post regularly on her: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

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Task of Childhood – Early Adolescent Development Ages 11-14

“Perhaps the most difficult phase of life is early adolescence. It is a phase when your child is not yet mature but he is no longer a kid”

Cognitive Stage
Adolescents vary between some children who are still focused on logic and others who are able to combine logical and abstract thinking. Some early adolescents cannot think ahead to the consequences of their actions. They are developing new thinking skills, such as thinking more about possibilities, thinking more abstractly, thinking more about the process of thinking itself, thinking in multiple dimensions, and seeing things as relative rather than absolute. They practice new thinking skills through humor and arguing with parents and others, and the
use of humor focused on satire, sarcasm, and sex.

Moral Development
Early adolescents have a continuing self-focus and often believe they are invulnerable to negative events.They also have an increasing ability to take the perspective of others into account with their own perspective. In addition, as they become concerned about gaining social approval, their morals begin to be based on respect for the social order and agreements between people or what is known as “law and order” morality. Youth also begin to question social conventions, re-examine their own values and moral/ethical principles, which sometimes results in conflicts with their parents.

Self-Concept
An early adolescent’s self-image can be challenged by body changes during puberty as well as social comparisons. This is also when they begin to develop the long-term process of establishing their own identity separate from family. Many girls experience pressure to conform to gender stereotypes and might show less interest in math and science. With puberty, normal increases in girls’ body fat can negatively influence their body image and self-concept. Both boys and girls might be concerned with skin problems, height, weight, and overall appearance.

Relationship to Parents
Changes in parental expectations alter previous patterns of relationships, often resulting in greater conflict. Early adolescents also have a greater focus on peer friendships as they develop an identity outside of the role of a child in a family. They also often rebuff physical affection (but still need it). They have an increased interest in making their own decisions, which benefits from increased opportunities to do so. Youth object more often to parental limitations (but still needs some). Parental listening skills and nurturing continue to be important.

Emotional Traits
Youth age 11-14 have an intense self-focus, an increased desire for privacy, and a sensitivity about their body. They also have frequent mood swings with changes in activities and contexts. Too much time spent alone can contribute to moodiness and heighten forgetfulness.

Peer Relationships
Early adolescent friendships increasingly involve sharing of values. Cliques of three to six friends (usually the same gender) provide a greater sense of security. Romantic crushes are common and dating begins.

You can download the complete “Task of Childhood” brochure

4 Blog Series 

  1. Task of Childhood Development
  2. Tasks of Childhood – Late Childhood Development Ages 8-11
  3. Task of Childhood – Early Adolescent Development Ages 11-14
  4. Task of Childhood – Late Adolescent Development Ages 14-18 

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about her counseling practice, you can contact her at: Kay@KayTrotter.com214-499-0396, or visit her web site http://www.KayTrotter.com.

Dr Trotter also post regularly on her: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

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Tasks of Childhood – Late Childhood Development Ages 8-11

“Communication and understanding are especially important at the late childhood stage of development”

Cognitive Stage: Children in this developmental stage use logical thinking but with a very limited ability to extend logic to abstract concepts (e.g. the disdain for imaginative and illogical thinking of early childhood). At this point, they have accumulated a lot of general knowledge and have gradually developed the ability to apply learned concepts to new tasks. They also have a frequent interest in learning life skills from adults at home and elsewhere (e.g. cooking, fixing things, etc.).

Moral Development: Children age 8-11 are predominantly focused in the needs and wants of themselves, although they have developed a conscience and move from thinking in terms of “What’s in it for me?” fairness (e.g. “If you did this for me, I would do that for you.”). They now want to gain social approval and live up to the expectations of people close to them. They tend to have a ”Golden Rule” morality where they can take the perspective of others and may place the needs of others over their own self-interest. However, their moral thinking abilities are not always reflected in their behavior.

Psychological and Emotional Traits: Children at this stage have a need to develop a sense of mastery and accomplishment with frequent interest in making plans and achieving goals. They learn from what parents and others do to make and fix things and have a tendency to be disorganized and forgetful.

“Early onset of puberty is associated with lower self-control and emotional instability.”

Self-Concept: Influenced by relationships with family members, teachers, and increasingly by their peers, often relatively, 8- to 11-year-olds have a low level of concern about their physical appearance (especially boys), although this is influenced by peers as well as the media. Many boys experience pressure to conform to “masculine” stereotype. Girls’ body image declines precipitously with puberty, especially with early onset puberty. Early onset puberty is also associated with lower self-control and emotional instability, especially for boys.

Relationship to Parents and Other Adults: Children in late childhood development tend to be closely attached to parental figures and parents increasingly need to involve these children in decision making while increasing responsibility with age. Most frequent conflicts occur over sibling quarrels and forgetfulness with respect to chores, schoolwork, and messiness, especially of their bedroom. Parental listening skills becomes increasingly important as the parent-child communication patterns can change with puberty. Many adolescents report that (a) they cannot talk with parents about issues related to sexuality, and (b) they do not get needed information in sex education courses at school.

Peer Relationships: Friendships among 8- to 11-year-olds are often with their same-gender peers and are usually based on proximity, common interest/hobbies, or other perceived commonalities. Girls usually have fewer, but emotionally closer, friends than boys. Formation of exclusive “clubs” and shifting peer alliances is common at this age and media influences and popular culture increasingly affect the child’s peer activities and relationships.

You can download the complete “Task of Childhood” brochure

4 Blog Series 

  1. Task of Childhood Development
  2. Tasks of Childhood – Late Childhood Development Ages 8-11
  3. Task of Childhood – Early Adolescent Development Ages 11-14
  4. Task of Childhood – Late Adolescent Development Ages 14-18 

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about her counseling practice, you can contact her at: Kay@KayTrotter.com214-499-0396, or visit her web site http://www.KayTrotter.com.

Dr Trotter also post regularly on her: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

Read More

Childhood Development Ages 8 to 11

childhood development ages 8-11“The major task of childhood is to become “your own person”

My childhood development blog series will include the characteristics of the “typical” child during each developmental stage from ages 8 to 18, illustrating how children’s progression through these stages is determined not only by biological growth and change, but also by temperament and personality, adult expectations, and social influences.

The main tasks of childhood require children to learn, and this kind of learning is not just a matter of getting the right answer. Most important is to understand the meaning of the right answer. This is truly difficult work and it absolutely requires support from parents, relatives, and neighbors.

To help children grow up, parents need to be aware how their child is changing, growing, and developing. It is easy for a middle-aged adult to forget this fact, especially when confronted with a difficult problem. However, parents who are working on their own growth are in a good position to understand children and to respect what they are doing as they struggle to grow up and become good people in their own right.

Children progression through these stages is determined not only by biological growth and change, but also by temperament and personality, adult expectations, andsocial influences. Children learn to make choices and commitments, follow through with them, and stand up independently in the world. They need to be respected for taking on these tasks. After all, we respect adults who can do these things. They are complicated and courageous actions. However, children swing back and forth between dependence and independence as they work on these tasks. It is easy for parents to get frustrated. It is also easy for a parent to assume that if the child would simply follow the plan that makes sense to a parent, things would be all right in the end.

“Children will not remember you for the material things you provided but for the feeling that you cherished them.”
-Richard L. Evans

Understanding your child’s moral, emotional, and self-development – the main tasks of childhood require children to learn, and this kind of learning is not just a matter of getting the right answer. Most important is to understand the meaning of the right answer. This is truly difficult work and it absolutely requires support from parents, relatives, and neighbors.

To help children grow up, parents need to be aware how their child is changing, growing, and developing. It is easy for a middle-aged adult to forget this fact, especially when confronted with a difficult problem. However, parents who are working on their own growth are in a good position to understand children and to respect what they are doing as they struggle to grow up and become good people in their own right.

Late Childhood Development 8-11″

Cognitive Stage: Children in this developmental stage use logical thinking but with a very limited ability to extend logic to abstract concepts (e.g. the disdain for imaginative and illogical thinking of early childhood). At this point, they have accumulated a lot of general knowledge and have gradually developed the ability to apply learned concepts to new tasks. They also have a frequent interest in learning life skills from adults at home and elsewhere (e.g. cooking, fixing things, etc.).

Moral Development: Children age 8-11 are predominantly focused in the needs and wants of themselves, although they have developed a conscience and move from thinking in terms of “What’s in it for me?” fairness (e.g. “If you did this for me, I would do that for you.”). They now want to gain social approval and live up to the expectations of people close to them. They tend to have a ”Golden Rule” morality where they can take the perspective of others and may place the needs of others over their own self-interest. However, their moral thinking abilities are not always reflected in their behavior.

Psychological and Emotional Traits: Children at this stage have a need to develop a sense of mastery and accomplishment with frequent interest in making plans and achieving goals. They learn from what parents and others do to make and fix things and have a tendency to be disorganized and forgetful.

“Early onset of puberty is associated with lower self-control and emotional instability.”

Self-Concept: Influenced by relationships with family members, teachers, and increasingly by their peers, often relatively, 8- to 11-year-olds have a low level of concern about their physical appearance (especially boys), although this is influenced by peers as well as the media. Many boys experience pressure to conform to “masculine” stereotype. Girls’ body image declines precipitously with puberty, especially with early onset puberty. Early onset puberty is also associated with lower self-control and emotional instability, especially for boys.

Relationship to Parents and Other Adults: Children in late childhood development tend to be closely attached to parental figures and parents increasingly need to involve these children in decision making while increasing responsibility with age. Most frequent conflicts occur over sibling quarrels and forgetfulness with respect to chores, schoolwork, and messiness, especially of their bedroom. Parental listening skills becomes increasingly important as the parent-child communication patterns can change with puberty. Many adolescents report that (a) they cannot talk with parents about issues related to sexuality, and (b) they do not get needed information in sex education courses at school.

Peer Relationships: Friendships among 8- to 11-year-olds are often with their same-gender peers and are usually based on proximity, common interest/hobbies, or other perceived commonalities. Girls usually have fewer, but emotionally closer, friends than boys. Formation of exclusive “clubs” and shifting peer alliances is common at this age and media influences and popular culture increasingly affect the child’s peer activities and relationships.

† Source: Middle Childhood and Adolescent Development, Oregon State University Extension Service.

Next blog of the Childhood Development series will be  “Early Adolescents ages 11-14”

Download the complete ages 8-18  “Task of Childhood” 

Additional Resource:

Ages and Stages A Parent’s Guide to Normal Childhood Development Written by a fellow play therapist Charles E. Schaefer‘s Ages and Stages this book is great for sorting through what’s normal age appropriate behavior and what’s not.

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about Kaleidoscope Counseling please call 214-499-0396

Dr Trotter also post regularly on her: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

Read More

SuperHero Play Increases Self-Esteem

SuperHero

I just opened a box with new costumes for the play room: Doctor Scrubs, Superman, Wonder Women, Police Officer and Ninja. I am excited to see how the kids use them to play out their emotional conflicts.

Take Superman, for example. Clark Kent is a timid man, but with just a whirl and his special brand of magic, he becomes the all-powerful superhero with superhuman strength and ability. When a child participating in this type of fantasy they successfully boosts themselves from the timid shy Clark Kent to the status of an all-powerful superhuman. This relieves them of their feelings of inadequacy and allows them to discharge their feelings of aggression away from those adults in their life who are in control of them, thus keeping those relationships intact. The greater the imagination, the more elaborate and disguised the fantasies are and the greater the emotional relief and resolution of conflict.

How many times have we all seen young children battling the forces of evil and wondered why does he/she enjoy this so much?

Fantasy in the form of play allows children to build a world of imaginary characters and stories that play out current emotional conflicts in such a way that the emotions are expressed and resolved on a subconscious or unconscious level. Where children rise above themselves as they play, becoming more than their average selves.

In fantasy play, children are able to use abstract and representational thinking, allowing a bowl to become a hat, an empty pot to become a steamy aromatic soup, and a pile of pillows to become a boiling lava flow. This self-guided play requires planning, regulating, and negotiating.  In short, the act of “acting” strengthens the executive functions of the brain.

You can help by

  1. Creating a dressing up box and filling it with old clothes, scarves, jewellery, bags and hats that can be used for pretend play.
  2. Encouraging children to share their pretend play, but without interrupting the flow of play.
  3. Joining in! But let the child lead, through your responses: “Show me what you want me to do,” “What should I say?” or “What happens next?” “What happens now?” “What kind of teacher am I?” “You want me to put that on,” “Hmmm…,”

How does this help my child?

  1. How your child feels about themselves will make a significant difference in their behavior.
  2. As your child feels better about themselves they are able to discover their own strengths and assume greater self-responsibility as they take charge of daily life situations.
  3. How your child thinks, and how they performs in school are directly related to how they feels about themselves.
  4. When your child feels better about themselves, they will behave in more self-enhancing ways rather than self-defeating ways.

If you would like Dr. Kay Trotter to come talk to your group or find out more about Kaleidoscope Counseling please call 214-499-0396

Dr Trotter also post regularly on her: Facebook Fan Page and Pinterest.

You also might like these blog post by Dr Trotter

The Task of Childhood Development

Play Therapy with Young Children

Is Your Child Ready for Kindergarten?

Dr. Trotter’s Pinterest Boards

Additional Resources:

Superhero Play and Child Development

How superhero play supports learning

 

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Guide your children to a better way of behaving

At some point, children will misbehave to the point of having a consequence as a result. Depending on the problem at hand and the family belief of proper action, discipline for your child can take a variety of forms. However, what happens when your child doesn’t care about the consequences and performs these actions anyway? What happens when he or she cares nothing or is not impacted by the disciplinary action of choice?

Lurking Negativity – Taking an item away from a child when he or she misbehaves is a common practice by many parents. For the most part, it can be an effective solution to quell a specific problem. However, some children care nothing of objects and seem to be unaffected by this manner of discipline. If your child doesn’t seem to be affected by his or her actions, there may be a deeper underlying problem that isn’t being addressed.

Keep Communications Open – Depending on the severity of the action from the child that prompted the discipline, keeping your composure may be difficult. Obviously your child wasn’t thinking rationally, but you need to do so in order to deal with the situation. Instead of instantly jumping to conclusions as to why the child did what he or she did, you need to get to the root of the problem. There could be a deeper problem that he or she is trying to work out and is unable. While it may be difficult to get to the heart of the problem as your child can be quite tight-lipped, you still need to show that you are there for them. You can’t force a child to unload his or her problems on you, but you can reassure them that you are there regardless of how bad it may seem.

Repeated Actions – If a deeper problem does persist, the actions that cause you to enforce discipline could repeat themselves. It’s not that your child is purposely trying to enact punishment, although it may seem that way sometimes. He or she is demonstrating there is something wrong and are unable to deal with the circumstance. While disciplinary action can still play a role in how your family functions, you should still concentrate on why he or she did what they did. You would be amazed at how well future problems can be solved with communication and dealing with problems as they arise.

Never Belittle One’s Stress – One thing many parents do is assume that the child’s problem is “silly.” This is especially seen with families that have teenaged members. The problem may be simplistic to you, but it could be dire to an individual who has never experienced it before. You have decades worth of experience in contrast to a child who may be experiencing certain frustrations or heartaches for the first time. While we know that specific problems are not the end of the world, some children could think otherwise. Unless you deal with the underlying problems that cause misbehavior, some circumstances could feel routine. Every problem has a solution, and it’s up to the parent to help the child find the one that fits. You don’t have to solely rely on spanking or grounding your children. Get to the root of the problem before it escalates into something far worse.

KEY
Be involved in your child’s life and guide them to a better way of thinking and behaving

Resources:

In-Home Parenting Coach | One of  Dr. Kay’s professional counselor comes to your home and observes the areas you may be feeling unsuccessful in your parenting and then offers personalized strategies and mentoring to help reduce stress and increase joy. DON’T WAIT, call us at 214-499-0396. SPECIAL OFFER EXPIRES JULY 31.

The Center for Parenting Education | A resource to help parents do the best job they can to raise their children. This link is to their Library of Parenting Articles for parents who are looking for answers right now.

One Trough Job | An online resource for real-live parents has articles to download on Positive Parenting tools that address behaviors and disciple by your child’s age from 6 to teenagers.  

The Task of Childhood Development ages 8 to 18 | 1st blog post of a 4 blog series where Dr Kay talks about childhood development in a way parents can understand and put into practical everyday use. You can also download the complete “Task of Childhood” brochure on Dr Kay’s web page, at bottom of page under “Parenting.”

Dr Kay on Pintrest | The Child & Family Counseling Resources: Community Board is a group board of mental health therapists and specialists dedicated to providing therapeutic resources for children, adolescents, adults, families, and care givers. The Raising Healthy Children Board is full of tips to help parents raise a healthy child by providing unconditional love, plus ways to encourage children to express and explore their emotions.

christine

Guest blogger – Christine Maddox


Author Bio: This post is contributed by Christine Maddox. Currently she is pursuing her Master’s degree from University of Texas as well as blogging for 4 nannies . She loves to write anything related to parenting, kids, nanny care etc. She can be reached via email at: christine.4nannies @ gmail.com.

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Bullying

In an effort to stop the pain, we’re acting out poorly, like bullying, to overcome feelings of inferiority. How you relate to your child is what will bully-proof them. For more in-depth info on these concepts, download these helpful brochures: Task of Childhood – See the World Through Your Child’s Eyes Teach Self-Control & Responsibility […]

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