So yesterday I introduced you to my oldest homeschooled son, Sam (read Homeschooled and Headed for Hollywood) and showed you one of his student films on YouTube. But in our family’s library of home movies we have evidence of the earlier stages of his development, and that of his siblings as well.
The stages of human development in our children’s personalities can be difficult to understand and hard to handle. When my four homeschool babies were much younger, they made a movie together, a Batman epic adventure, and that videocassette provides a wonderful snapshot of the challenges we can face as parents when our kids are in different stages at the same time.
Sam was 10, and the Batman epic was his brainchild; he was eager to make a REAL movie. Rebekah was 8, and she was in a self-conscious stage, unwilling to show up on film any more than I absolutely required; where Sam and I thought she’d be a happy participant, she instead grudgingly pulled the wagon down the street for the big chase scene, but refused to play a character in the story. Jake was 6, a little goofball, and was just so happy to be given a part by his big brother that he was all smiles. And Jonah at 4, and cast in the lead role of Batman, was so deeply committed to imaginary play that he gave an Oscar-worthy portrayal of the caped crusader.
It was, quite honestly, a frustrating day for me as a homeschool mom. I thought this would be a smile-filled, out-of-the-box activity for our family. Instead it was fraught with tension.
If I had possessed a better understanding of human developmental stages back then (or if I’d known Vicki better and felt free to ask lots of questions…she’s got a Masters degree in this stuff, you know!), I would have been better equipped to handle the Batman epic shoot.
Even when our kids are close in age, they move through various stages of development that can create tension and clashes in our homes. An activity that will be a stress-reliever for one child is a stress-creator for another. A verbal exchange that clears things up for kid #1 may simultaneously confuse kid #2. What’s a mama to do?
* Thankfully, God understands it all because He designed us, and seeking His guidance is our first step in forming good responses to the stages our kids move through.
* Good material for understanding stages of human development is also a great tool. I wish that I had learned more about this subject when I was in high school or college, but I was never exposed to much material on the topic. Instead, when Sam began studying it in a learning co-op class that Vicki was teaching, I soaked up information from his high school text and projects. I never want to be afraid to ask people who have special training in an area to help me understand my own kids.
Have you ever struggled to understand the best response to your child’s current stage of development?