Dr. James MacDonald 332 Mimring Columbus, Ohio 43202 Phone/Fax 614 447-0768 macdonaldj86@gmail.com

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What's Right For You May Be Wrong For Your Child

Another obstacle to social play is the adult's insistence on goal- oriented rather than child-centered play that produces stress or results in more failures than successes is more punishment the play for both you and your child. The notion that there is only a right or wrong way to do things often deters the child who is not yet ready for the whole thing. Stephanie threw a ball halfway to her mother who responded, "No, throw all the way to me". The girl was just learning to throw but her mother did not accept little steps. After several such exchanges, the girl stopped interacting. Once her mother learned to accept any attempt the girl interacted more and her mother had the chance to show her more mature ways to interact.

If your child were learning to climb stairs, you certainly would not place him on the bottom step, then go to the top step and say (Come on up and get me!). No, you would be on the next step coaching him to make the gains he could do. The same applies when children are beginning to socialize; any attempt to interact is a success.

Parents and professionals regularly want their child to play with things in the "right" way. Often what is considered "right" to parents is actually "adult" behavior or at least not developmentally the next step for the child. In order to help parents appreciate the difference between their view of "Right" and what is developmentally "right", I may whimsically as them " How well does he drive a car or balance his checkbook?" The point of this nonsense question is that we are often expecting of children behaviors that they are not ready to do, like driving or dealing with finances. This common desire for a child to do things "right" when right means doing it in the adult's way highlights the fact that we adults often interpret a child's a behavior in adult terms and not in terms of what is right developmentally for a child. Once you enter your child's world by actively participating in it, you will get to intuitively know what is a developmentally "right" next step for your child. You will no longer expect adult or other impossible behavior of him; rather you will expect him only to do three things, first, to do more of what he is doing, second, to do it socially with people, and third to do just a little more that is possible.

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Dr. James MacDonald 332 Mimring Columbus, Ohio 43202 Phone/Fax (614)447-0768 macdonaldj86@gmail.com