In the last article (Early Adolescence: Part I), I described the major changes in development that take place among young adolescents during the years between twelve and fourteen. Included was a discussion of the onset of puberty with its accompanying changes in sexuality, physical development, and new focus on appearance. Along with puberty, changes in cognitive development revealed a new capacity for thinking about problems hypothetically, allowing young teens to begin to evaluate not only their own values and behavior, but also those of authority figures and peers alike.
Most everyone is familiar with the phrase "Daddy's little girl." It connotes the special relationship that begins to appear between fathers and daughters somewhere around six to seven years of age. Up until that time, mom has been the primary person in the young girl's life, but as the child moves into the early middle childhood years (six through eleven), a growing need for the father's influence and affections begin to surface.
Here's our checklist for minimizing your child's stress load. This list will work for both young children and adolescents, and should assist you in taking some concrete steps toward enhancing your child's overall quality of life. For a full discussion of the sources of childhood stress, read the article posted on our website entitled "Assessing Childhood Stress".
Stress has become a prominent factor in all of our lives due to the complications of living in a fast-paced society in which we are faced with a multitude of daily intrusions on our inner peace. "Inner peace?" you ask. "What's that?" Precisely. For parents, the stress is played out day after day as we struggle to meet economic demands (which often means that both parents work), find affordable day-care, deal with schools, teachers, our kids' homework and academic struggles, etc.
The "terrible twos" conjures up a picture of a raging toddler pitching a very loud tantrum in the seat of a shopping cart in the grocery store while her very distraught mother (or father) frantically tries to soothe or distract him (maybe shoving cookies in his mouth) as others look on disapprovingly with looks that say "Can't you control your child?" If you've been a parent of a young child, you have probably experienced something along these lines at some time or another when your child was in her second or third year.