Saturday, June 25, 2011

A refreshing view on child development

The other day I got a dinner invitation via email from someone in our ward. We've met them a couple times but nothing substantial. In the email she mentioned that our sons would like to play together because even though Hyrum is 5 months old and her son is 15 months old, her son is "a little delayed."

Maybe this is silly, but I found this so refreshing. No massive explanation and no excuses. I have seen their family in church and by physical appearances, I could tell that their son was having some challenges but boy, do those parents love their kid! And so does just about everyone else in the ward. He seems sweet as can be.

In all of my "my kid needs to be developing properly" concerns, I sat back one day and wondered, "what if he walks a little later than other kids?" or "what if he were to be developmentally challenged?" My thoughts went in two directions, "well, I'll love him of course!" and "well, it would probably be my fault." Silly me should just consider the former.

I think our society of parenting is so ridiculously caught up in having the smartest, the cutest, the most advanced, the brightest, the IT kid. From special toys to early schooling to exposing our fetus to classical music, we're bombarded with ways to further the advancement of our kids. But, with few exceptions, our kids are probably going to turn out the way they're going to turn out.

I mean, sure, we can give them opportunities and there's nothing wrong with sharing our love for classical music with our babies but, come on! Do we need to be so obsessed about it that every toy in the toy store tries to sell itself with a list of developmental milestones it helps kids to achieve? Or "smart baby" DVDs in the hopes that we, too, will have a "Baby Einstein?" And is it really that big of a deal if your baby rolls over a month later than your friend's baby? Or doesn't "sleep through the night" yet (which, P.S., isn't a developmental milestone...we've just made it one)? Basically, the only thing we can do to mess up our kids is to strap them to the ground every moment of the day and refuse to let them move. Sooner or later, when they're ready, they're going to "advance." In the meantime, maybe we should just sit back and revel in this time before they advance far enough to talk back to us and before we have to use a fog horn to wake them up in the morning.


  1. Wow, amy so insightful and really amazing. I have a son with a few developmental delays, and well he is just him and will always be just perfect. Instead of fighting to be the "perfect" everything lets just be who we are and love that. (I may need to take my own advice to heart a little more often)

  2. Thank you for posting this. My oldest has a significant speech delay and it is an effort everyday to get her to do even the basic things and we are constantly working on our therapy program and it is easy to get bogged down in the work of raising Violet and forget that she is a perfect sweet child and how much I love her just the way she is. We do everything a little differently to accomodate Violets needs and it is a constant reminder to me that we are all on our own path, we all have trials and we all have different blessings, but we are all children of God and he loves us. The point of life is not to be the best and brightest, it is to become Christlike. Developmental delays are a trial sometimes, but a lot of blessings come from the work we do to overcome them.

  3. Good post Amy! I totally agree that we don't need to be so worried about our child being the IT kid. or whether they are a few months behind in some aspects.. babies and children are all so different from one another. My brother is a pediatrician and it drives him nuts when parents want to put their children in kindergarten a year early so they can "get ahead" or because they think their child is "advanced enough." I say let kids be kids!

    However, with some things, I do think parental intervention does make a difference. My sister struggles with 2 sons who have autism and her third showed the same early signs of being "delayed." the same sort of signs that her other sons were showing at the same age (my sister majored in speech pathology and could recognize certain things early on).. anywho, they were featured in the sacramento magazine and it's an awesome article about how much parents do affect how their children learn and interact. Even to the point that it could help curve something as serious as autism. I'm not saying that if your child is delayed, they could be autistic or have something else wrong with them but I do feel that the time we spend with our children and the ways we help our babies learn directly affect how they turn out. Just my thoughts. :) Here's the link to that article:
    (and on a side note, thanks to the therapy and my sister's efforts, her son has progressed enough for them to declare that he no longer shows any signs of autism anymore and should grow up completely normal. My sis just told me this the other day)