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What is Normal Development?
  Written By: Diane Clark Johnson
  Article Date:
August 25, 2008



Development is given in a range of years. Each child develops as an individual. Ask yourself, are you expecting too much or too little?

Your child's behavior "problem" may be just one of his/her important and normal developmental tasks. Awareness of these tasks should reassure you that your child’s development is normal and likely to change again soon. A behavior "problem" often lasts more than 6 months, happens in more than one place consistently, and appears as a pattern.

Normal Expectations:

During the past 15-20 years intrauterine development has become very important. Prior to this time, environmental effects on fetal development were not considered important.

Piaget’s Sensorimotor Period (Birth to 2 years)

0-1 years

• Trust of caregiver/parent

• Forming a secure attachment now is critical for later years

• World view is expanding

1-3 years

• Focus Oriented, can now experience outrage

• Self-control/self-management are key

• Impulses are out of control

• Parallel play normal

• Peers are competitors or providers

• Perspective taking is just beginning

• Able to learn cause and effect

• Thinking is relatively concrete

Piaget’s Preoperational Period (2-7 years)

2-5 years

• During the first five years of life, children are egocentric -- they can only see their own perspective

• Increasing ability to tolerate frustration and to delay gratification

• Important for them to say NO, allows them to have feeling of control

• Normal to have focused aggression

• Play is critical, imaginary friends are useful and normal

• External to internal control begins to develop/ more able to self-regulate

• Socialization learned; learning what is socially appropriate

• Language development

• Gender identity

5-7 years

• A very sensitive time for child when making mistakes

• Parent needs to allow mistakes and help teach that mistakes are opportunities to learn

• Parents can have influences setting cultural bias

• Parent can begin to plants seeds for empathy, through modeling

Piaget’s Period of Concrete Operations (7-11 years)

6-12 years

• Latency, this period sexual and aggressive drives diminish

• Generally a stable period

• Beginning of our continuous memory/Can begin to develop expectations

• Most memories are happy

• Adaptive functions solidified, habits and patterns develop now

• Child is often able to organize and get along on their own

• Social skills and ego functions develop now

• Peer relationships are key

• Develop "social markers" or labels i.e.: fat, left-handed

• Mastery is important, being good at something is critical

• Interest in the outside world

Important tasks during latency

• Friendships

• Self control (body, emotions)

• Mastery of environment

• Clear distinction between public and private life (secrets)

• External and internal life (fantasy)

• Reassuring during this period to know there is a "Higher Authority"

• Hobbies and organized collections offer opportunity for control, organization and order

• Personality traits develop now

8-9 years

• Competition enables self evaluation

• Peer rivalry

• Clear gender barriers in spite of efforts to avoid