My Child’s Chronological Age Differs From The Developmental Age

My child’s chronological age differs from the developmental age

Act your age! You need to grow up! Have you ever said any of those remarks to a child? Have you said them too often to the same child? Think….has the situation changed? Did you feel regret? says. ‘A child’s developmental age will indicate where a child is emotionally, physically and intellectually on this path of development, as compared to typical behaviors and characteristics of that age.’

Back to the questions. I can answer all the questions above. I can recall two instances, and because of my interventions, the situations changed. I successfully helped two parents to seek help and have their children tested. Over the past few years, I have had the opportunity to interact with several children whose chronological ages differed from their developmental ages. On a few occasions, I would kindly ask whether the parent is interested in having the child tested. Of course, on each occasion, I recognized the sensitive nature of the situation and I hoped that the receiver understood that I was not being inquisitive. You see, in my culture, we prefer that people mind their own business. But as an educator, it cannot be that you see something and do nothing.

From my observations I have found that often whenever a child’s chronological age differs from the developmental age, the parent is likely to deny that this is so.

I wrote in an earlier comment that my blog posts will be simple, and easy to understand. I want them to be relatable, so I may use a definition, but I will not spend time on theories. I invite readers who are knowledgeable about the topics to share their academic writings and theories in the comment section.

Parents who believe that they may not understand their children’s developmental age – need not worry. There is help!! You may be confused because sometimes the same children do exceptionally well and at another time they act younger than you expect for their chronological ages. Do not panic!!

What should parents know?    Selected factors affecting delay in development:

  • Sudden death of a parent;
  • Neglect/abuse at an early age;
  • Developmental disability;
  • Major change in family structure such as divorce/separation;
  • Disruptive migration; and
  • A history of trauma or neglect.

What may parents observe?    Parents may observe the following:

  • Child is slow to complete tasks at school;
  • Child is easy prey for bullies at school because he/she has low self-esteem;
  • Child has no desire to embrace excellence;
  • Child’s behavior is often characterized by several of the following: rude, disobedient, temper tantrums, loud and boisterous and raucous outbursts.

What may parents do?     Parents may do the following:

  • Help find your child’s passion. Encourage conversations about this passion.
  • Encourage creativity. Give your child the necessary resources.
  • Supervise creativity and exploration. If your child likes to take pieces of toys apart and reassembles them, supervise this exercise if you think that the task may pose some danger to the child.
  • Encourage your child to self-express. If the child likes visual arts, then take him/her to art exhibitions.
  • Create opportunities so that your child may interact with children of his/her chronological age.

In preparing to write this post I read Kate Oliver’s article on her blog, ‘help4yourfamily’, entitled, ‘Chronological Age vs. Development Age.’ I will seek permission to share it later.

I invite you to share your ideas on this topic. Talk soon.

Claire Spence




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