10
Child Development
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10.1
What to Know
Picture this situation. A dad prepares a meal for himself and his three-year-old son. As they dine, the three-year-old starts to eat with his hands. The dad tells his son that he must use a fork.
The child uses the fork for a few minutes and then uses his hands again. The dad becomes angry and yells at his son to stop using his hands and pick up the fork. The dad threatens to take the food away. What’s wrong here? If you said the dad shouldn’t have yelled at his son and threatened to take away the food, you’re right. But why did the dad yell at and threaten his son? The main reason is that dad didn’t know that it’s normal for a three-year-old to use both a fork (or spoon) and hands to eat! Some of the biggest mistakes made by dads stem from a lack of knowledge about child development. So it’s vital that you learn about child development and the physical, emotional, and social milestones your children should reach by a certain age. It’s also vital that you learn how you can help your children to reach these milestones. As you learn about child development, keep in mind that all children are unique. Your children might differ from other children in when they reach milestones.
Click here to access Countdown to Growing UpTM. It’s an online tool from National Fatherhood Initiative® that will help you learn about your children’s development and the milestones for their age. (Follow the directions to find the information for your children’s ages.) The best thing about this tool is the tips for helping your children reach their milestones. Be cautious when using this tool or any other on child development. Take the information with a grain of salt in terms of what it means about your children and your role in their development. These charts can raise concern. Some dads think they should know this stuff. No one knows this stuff cold. Even doctors keep copies of these kinds of charts around their offices to use. Countdown to Growing UpTM helps you know something about your children’s development in the present and future. Don’t use the charts like box scores or report cards. And never use them to compare your children to each other or to other children. They are road maps that give you a little guidance about what is coming around the corner. They’re simply a tool to do the job at hand, like a good socket wrench set or software program.
If you are ever concerned about how your children are developing, talk with your children’s doctor.
Learn how much impact you have and don’t have on your children when it comes to their development. There are two large forces that affect how children develop: nature and nurture.
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What Else
10.2
Nurture is the way you raise and treat your children. Nurture affects some traits, such as self-worth, how a child treats others, and what a child does for a job as an adult.
NURTURE
Nature is the traits that your children are born with and that don’t change, such as race, sex, and hair and eye color. These are traits that you can’t affect.
NATURE
The way you raise your children can strengthen a natural weakness or weaken a natural strength. You can bring out and grow your children’s natural talents. You can also suppress and not allow them to develop to their fullness. You can get your children training to run faster, for example, but your children can only run as fast as their natural gifts will allow. You can make sure your children eat healthy foods to grow taller, but your children will only grow as tall as their bodies will allow. If you’ve gone through the topic Family History, you learned about self-worth and how you can build it in your children. You can also harm your children’s self-worth when you lack knowledge about child development. If you lack this knowledge, you’re in danger of setting goals for your children that they might not be able to reach by the time you think they should. And, depending on the goals, they might never reach them.
Sadly, many dads set the bar too high when it comes to their children’s development.
It’s okay to have goals for your children’s development. The key is to make sure they’re realistic. What will harm your children’s self-worth is when the goals aren’t realistic and you react poorly when your children don’t reach them.
10.3
What to Ask
Click to scroll through each of the questions below. Grab a paper and pen to write down your answers if you wish. Take your time.
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Click the arrows to scroll through the questions
How much do I know about how my children should develop? Do I know the physical, emotional, and social milestones for their ages?
What can I do to help my children reach their milestones?
Am I concerned about the development of any of my children? If so, why am I concerned? Have I spoken with my child’s doctor about my concern?
Do I have unrealistic goals for the development of any of my children? If so, how can I adjust the goals to make them realistic?
Get Inspired
Watch this brief video from Brian Jackson.
10.4
Learn More
1. Don’t let the mother of your children do all the work.
2. When your children are young, read to them daily.
3. Tell your children what you expect and then take a back seat.
4. As your children age tell them to ask you questions, with respect, that challenge you and others.
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10.5
One of the best things you can do for your children’s development is prepare them to do well in school. And after they’re in school, help them to succeed in it. Here are some ways you can help your children succeed in school.
5. Encourage your children to do homework in groups and with friends who succeed in subjects they struggle with, or just need a little help in.
6. Help your children get into classes with good teachers.
7. Go to school and class events.
8. Get to know other children and parents.
9. Join a group that helps parents become involved.
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