The most important job a parent has is to help their child grow up well and become a well-adjusted adult. A huge part of being able to do that successfully is to understand how their child is developing. It’s important to recognize how different people and situations are influencing your child so you can guide them through the difficult situations that come with growing up.
Observation of Environment
One of the problems that many parents face is having a child that displays aggression. This becomes even more difficult if the source of the aggression is not identified. If your child suddenly begins to display any negative or unwanted behavior, the first place you want to look for is their environment, to see if that’s where it may be coming from.
Take time to observe the environment of your child, especially the people that they spend the most amount of time with. If your child is close to someone who frequently displays aggressive behavior, this could be the root. This person could be a relative, a neighbor, or even a classmate. If you believe this is the source, then do what you can to keep them from that person and to make sure they’re aware of how their behavior is being affected by someone else.
Sometimes, it’s simply a matter of there being a lot of changes and a child who naturally has trouble adjusting to change. If you have recently had some major or even seemingly minor life changes, then consider that this could be the cause of your child’s change in behavior as they are having a hard time accepting changes. Whenever possible, give your child warning about changes and allow them to be a part of the decision-making process to make transitions easier.
Observation of the Child
Of course you will also need to observe your child to determine how they are developing. Recognizing that they have certain personality traits that show up no matter what situation they’re in is a good way to know which behaviors stem from their unique personality and which come from environmental influences. Watch the way your child interacts with their environment to better know how they are developing.
Talking to your children is one of the best ways to find out more about how they think about their environment and themselves. Although this is difficult in very young children, it’s crucial for older children to have the opportunity to talk openly with you so they can express themselves and share their thoughts so you can track development.
One mistake that many parents make is not asking open-ended questions. Whenever possible, ask open-ended questions that require long answers rather than yes/no responses. For example, rather than asking them how their day at school was, ask them what they did or learned. Or, when they come back from playing with a friend, don’t ask them if they had fun. Ask them what they played and why they enjoyed spending time with that friend.
By observing your child and their environment, you can see how child development works and better prepare them to live responsible lives.