As you are raising your children, here’s one thing that no one tells you: There are behaviors that are both annoying and nerve-wracking that are part of perfectly normal child development. Let’s discuss of these behaviors.
Before the first birthday, your sociable little darling suddenly begins to scream when confronting an unfamiliar person — which may include a grandmother if she hasn’t visited recently. This shows that true attachment to parents has occurred.
After about 18 months, your child likes to dump anything, anywhere. Dumping food or the sugar bowl is as much fun as dumping blocks — even more satisfying is the howl from the nearest parent. Physical exploration leads to understanding.
By 2 years old, your child yells “me!” and “mine!” when asked to share a toy with a playmate. While this doesn’t make for smooth play dates, it is very normal.
When you ask your child, who is almost 3, to wash his hands before dinner, it takes a half hour and the bathroom resembles the aftermath of a cyclone. Water play takes precedence over cleanliness or obedience anytime.
Around age 3, you can also count on spilled milk at the table. I remember despairing that we were raising a complete klutz. Just consider the number of things that are competing for her attention at mealtime.
When your child is nearing 4, most waking hours will be spent in character and costume as Spiderman or Wonder Woman. There’s just something about those powerful images that captivate the imagination of someone who has little power beyond choosing a breakfast cereal.
Don’t be shocked when you discover your child — about age 4 — exploring bodies with a friend or two. This doesn’t indicate deviant interests but a perfectly normal curiosity about other children’s anatomy.
Somewhere around the time your child is age 4 and a half, you will wonder if he or she is heading for a career in competitive sports or politics. Children at this age become preoccupied with winning and being the biggest and best. Not a problem — how else do you begin to figure out where you measure up in relation to others?
The 5-year-old who is sweetly amenable to most adult suggestions becomes a virtual tyrant when there are younger children nearby to boss around. Again, it’s not too difficult to figure out; about this time, children have to comply with adult guidelines for behavior in school and at home. It’s natural to want to exercise a bit of authority over someone younger.
When your school-ager comes home after a long school day, don’t be surprised to hear a muttered, “you’re not the boss of me” when you make a simple request. It’s kind of the equivalent of getting out from under the control of the supervisor at work.
See? Your child is really just as normal as all the others of the same age. And you’ll both live through it.
In the meantime, here are some fun things you can do with your children. You can take a country drive, wander through a corn maze or take a hayride. You can also make a summer treat at home like old-fashioned fudge, homemade gingerbread, or smoothies.
Creating a family scrapbook can be fun. Just add photographs and write in brief descriptions of the family’s events along with a comment or two from each person. Or you could write letters of thanks to veteran family members and friends.
For information, contact Cathy L. Graham, County Extension director with North Carolina Cooperative Extension, Robeson County Center, at 910-671-3276, by email at Cathy_Graham@ncsu.edu, or visit robeson.ces.ncsu.edu/.