Pressure to Perform

May 20, 2009

M turned 13 months today.  And it is like some switch got flipped.  All of the sudden it feels like the fact that he isn’t walking on his own yet and the fact that he has a bunch of words but none of them are “mommy” or “pai” (what F will be called) are causes for concern.  This morning, F started asking a bunch of questions about developmental milestones and then confessed that he is worried that M is falling behind.  I told him that he was silly to worry.  But the truth is I have been fighting these “my child must perform” impulses like crazy recently.

I feel like suddenly I am constantly looking at other kids at the playground and in stores wondering how old they are, I am asking more parents how old their kid was when s/he started walking, I feel possessed by the anxious parent bug.

So how do I let that go and trust that M is developing just fine?  How do I let go of the desire for my kid to be “advanced”?    He is a happy, funny, kind, loving, and smart kid.  And if these milestones are getting to me, what is it going to like when he is learning to read or play soccer or play an instrument?  How do I stop myself from going down this dangerous road?  As a post-modern parent who is fighting against those pressures to raise him in a protective bubble, I also desperately don’t want to succumb to the need to have my child perform just so I can feel better about myself as a parent.

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One Response to “Pressure to Perform”

  1. Joyce Says:

    O and M didn’t start walking on their own (with no regression) until 14 months–just like their dad. And they still don’t say Mama or Dada. In fact, M has only ever asked for anything by name once. It was “ya-ya.” He wanted to brush his teeth.

    Reaching developmental milestones has nothing to do with whether or not they’re advanced. At least, this is what I’ve heard and what I keep telling myself.


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