In Day Nine of “Twenty Days Toward More Mindful Mothering”, we looked at our abilities to set boundaries. And, one thing I really wanted to hammer in was that boundaries work both ways – it is not something that we only set for our children, but something we also set for ourselves. We need to set boundaries on how we handle the emotional things in life, especially the negative emotions in life that people hand us or that we think cause us to feel the way we do, because as we do this we model this for our children. We must help our children rise up out of their own negativity as well, if they have those tendencies, and do that through the boundaries we set on how we allow ourselves to be treated.
A large part of setting boundaries for children is knowing what are the realistic expectations for each age. If you are setting a boundary based upon some idea that the child “should” be able to do this, but the child really is not developmentally capable of this, then this is going to be a problem! It is one thing to help a child rise up to something that are capable of doing, but one must also be realistic and not expect ten year old things out of a three-year old!
This by itself could be a small book, but let’s point out a few highlights for realistic expectation for age three up through age eight in this three-part post!
AGE THREE: Three is very, very little. Very TINY. Say that with me! TINY! According to Waldorf parenting and pedagogy, the first three years are for the establishment for walking (which takes about two and a half years to be a very mature walker without needing the arms for balance, being able to run, stop and start suddenly, etc); then the development of speech and the development of thinking as first seen by use of the term “I”. These are the main goals for the first three years.
Then we start moving into other areas…
Some parents get very upset around the three and a half year mark as children start to exert some will and push against the forms of the day and the rhythms you have crafted. This is very normal. Typical developmental things about the three and a half -year-olds include (this is according to the Gesell Institute, not necessarily my personal opinion!):
Age Three and A Half
- Turbulent, troubled period of disequilibrium, the simplest event or occasion can elicit total rebellion; strong and secure gross motor abilities may turn more into stumbling, falling, at this age; new- found verbal ability such as “I’ll cut you in pieces!” and lots of whining — Keep your ho-hum on! Continue reading