VIRTUAL CHILD ASSIGNMENT #3: MIDDLE CHILDHOOD
AGE: 6 YEARS, 11 MONTHS
1. My child's behavior towards the social situation in the home has been similar to that outside the home. He proved to be cooperative at home but would demonstrate instances of nervousness, anxiousness and dependence especially when exposed to a new situation. This reaction has become all too familiar, seeing that he would respond this way even as an infant. He did just fine academically and remained cooperative and obliging to the teacher's wishes. During recess, he was "appropriately active" in the small group of friends that he played with; and even though he was not the leader, necessarily, he was still well liked by his peers. The teacher did mention, though, that at times Leonidas would over react to stressful situations by becoming moody and slightly depressed.
Leonidas was always "slow to warm up" in new environments, but this extreme nervousness became all the more obvious when my partner and I separated 2 years ago. We were on and off throughout those two years and Leonidas would blame himself for the difficulties between my partner and I. I am certain this is where the mood swings and moments of depression stem from. My partner and I have started to bring him along to therapy sessions to help cope with his anxieties and fears. In attempt to (mildly) pressure my child to be more independent, I continue to provide emotional support and have even started rewarding him for doing (new) things alone. I'm not too fond of the whole idea of bribing my child, but I'm hoping if it's successful (in a reasonable amount of time), I'll eventually be able to cut back on the rewards and doing things independently for him will become a habit. Moreover, I figure the only way to conquer your fears is to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. This applies to Leonidas's nervousness about new social situations. I signed him up for after school activities because I feel that they are excellent experiences to enhance social skills and gain self-confidence.
2. Since the age of 4, Leonidas continues to be advanced in his ability to recall information (memory), understand quantitive relationships, and demonstrate strength in reading and writing. When he was 4, his teacher reported that he could read a few short words, name most letters on sight and perform above average on vocabulary tests. His report card just recently said that he is excelling in areas of reading, writing, mathematical problem solving and spatial understanding. I've noticed that when he's engaged in conversations with adults, he has the tendency to utilize difficult words. In turn, he has started incorporating this into his schoolwork. At the age of 4, his teacher reported that he was above average in his ability to retell a story. Since then his memory has gotten better. He has beaten me a few times in games such as Concentration now that he is able to remember where certain sets are placed. My only concern is when he retells a story, he leaves out a lot of details and also will mix up the order in which things happened. Something I do and will continue to do to better this is asking Leonidas questions that will lead him to tell the story correctly, rather than interrupting the flow of his recall and doing it myself.
3. Leonidas is still incredibly shy when exposed to new social situations. His preschool teacher noted that he was often reluctant to join different activities with unfamiliar children. His first grade teacher just reported that he has started to play in a small group of friends. She says that he is still shy but is well liked by everyone. Leonidas continues to take a while to feel comfortable in new environments, but once he familiarizes himself with it, cooperates just fine, as he did when he was 4 years old. Something I noticed that was new yet age-appropriate in terms of my child's behavior was the way he would engage in physical activities and keep the girls at a distance whenever he was with his "guy friends."
AGE: 8 YEARS, 11 MONTHS
1. After being tested by the psychologist, my child was classified as "gifted" according to the Wechsler Intelligence Scale. With 10 being the mean, 7 being one standard deviation below and 13 one standard deviation above, my child scored a 15 on Information, 17 on Vocab, 16 on Similarities and 16 on comprehension. The psychologist noted that was gifted in math concepts as well as visual spatial ability, and recommended he be tested for placement in gifted classes.
Verbal: In 3rd grade, Leonidas is at a 6th grade reading level and is learning new vocabulary daily.
Logical-mathematical: He is doing 4th grade math in 3rd grade.
Spatial: He enjoys drawing and designing and scored above average when tested on it. Psychologist recommended seeking additional experiences for him to create.
Musical: Leonidas is able to read music and play it well by ear. He impresses those who hear him sing and play on his keyboard.
Bodily-kinesthetic: He is physically active and enjoys exercise, as a result, making him more resistant to illnesses. He has showed some athletic talent in both soccer and baseball.
2. Leonidas has showed interest in imitating what his father does, from his mannerisms to the handy-man work around the house. I view this whole focus on masculine roles as a part of normal development for boys, who want to be just as grown and manly as their fathers. I think in for Leonidas, this is especially the case, especially since he would stay with me whenever his father and I were separated, so he didn't have a father figure to look up to since he was usually helping me or his younger sister out. I've also noticed that whenever he is with his friends at school, he tags along in their playing sports, rough-housing or calling the girl "icky." Once again, I attribute this to the typical male bonding process. I do, however, provide limits in terms of how to treat girls. I am sure to enforce that Leonidas be kind and play fairly with his sister at all times. I also inform Leonidas of the fact that women can be police officers and that men can be teachers. Moreover, in attempts to convince Leonidas that men cook too, I allow his father to demonstrate his love for cooking, hoping that this would serve as a sort of reinforcer for Leonidas.
I don't have an attitude towards gender roles in society, solely. It's more of a general attitude, philosophy if you will, that I feel is applicable in just about any situation, and that is: treat people kindly. Regardless of what role or position a man or woman wants to take in society, you should respect them. This notion was instilled in me by my parents and is certainly an outlook I hope to imprint on my children.
3. Even as an infant, I remember my child always being on the moody side and having "hair-triggering reactions" to most things. This anxiousness increased when my partner and I split up due to some moderate financial issues and other conflicts. I also noticed he became more clingy as the separation made him unsure of himself. The teacher said she didn't notice any major change in Leonidas's behavior and that he continued to get along just fine with the other children. I believe that being at school served as a great mental distraction, a place where he could forget about his stresses and indulge in activities with kids his age.
Now, if he were raised in a single family home for a good majority of his life, by a parent who was overwhelmed with unemployment, over-due bills and thoughts consumed by how they intend on purchasing groceries, Leonidas's behavior would have been completely volatile and much more deviant than it is now. Income affects family functioning. Poor children are largely at risk for emotional and behavioral problems because of all the stress that comes with living in poverty (page 402). If Leonidas were raised in a environment like this he would not be performing well in school, he would have fewer friends and would experience more extreme feelings of abandonment and depression. Parents under a great deal of stress are often hostile towards their children which hinders the growth and (secure) attachment between a parent and their child (page 389). A child under these conditions would not develop a sense of self-respect through loving and nurturing since hurtful words and irrational punishment would occur. In addition a child growing up in poverty would not be provided with a sense of security or safety because of the terrible way the parent is reacting to the stressors, which only increases when the parent realizes that they are not meeting the basic needs for their family.
AGE: 10 YEARS, 11 MONTHS
1. Leonidas 5th grade report card is practically identical to his 3rd grade report card. He continues to "demonstrate strength" in reading, spelling, science, social studies, math, art and music. The only difference is that his writing level is "age-appropriate" rather than above average. Leonidas is still doing extremely well in math. He is in a 6th grade level math course, which is the highest math course offered at the school. He gets everything right on his tests and is starting to get bored due to the fact he's not being challenged enough. To prevent any sort of regress, I've purchased him higher-level math books, such as algebra. When he masters that, I intend to push him a little further by having him complete the problems within a time limit.
My son continues to be a strong reader. I like to engage him in discussions about different books and have him talk about what he believed to be were the funnier and more interesting moments in the text. Moreover, I recommend books and articles that I feel Leonidas will enjoy. The more young children read the greater their interest in reading becomes. Reading out loud exposes children to proper grammar and phrasing. It enhances the development of their spoken language skills as well as their ability to express themselves verbally. The more enjoyable the things they read are, the more they'll stick with them and develop the reading skills that they'll need for full access to information in their adult lives; this is why I like to switch up the different genres I suggest to Leonidas.
2. My partner and I got together because we both agreed that a nuclear familial structure is what is best for our children. We do argue from time to time about work and family issues. Sometimes we end up arguing in front of the kids, which always ends up upsetting them. I've noticed that my children have also started getting into more serious arguments with each other. Rather than just screaming, they are now pushing and hitting each other. I believe by engaging in this behavior, they are subconsciously mirroring the interaction between my husband and I; because they see their parents doing it, they must think it is acceptable to act in such a way. To fix this, my husband and I have agreed to go into a different room and sort out our differences rather than impulsively confronting each other in front of the children. If for some reason the option of going into a separate room is not available, we have agreed to discuss it in a reasonable manner, taking each other's perspective of the situation into consideration. Not only will this strength our relationship, but it will serve as a good indicator of how to react when problems arise.
Outside of the home, Leonidas is still shy around new adults and is quiet at school He has 1 close friend. I've come to terms with the fact that "timid" must be a strong genetic trait since it's been a persistent theme in his interactions with people even as an infant. Also, most 10 year olds have "one best friend," so I'm ok with him preferring build on this personal friendship rather than appeasing others simply for group acceptance (Chapter 13 Powerpoint). My only form of intervention here is making sure that he allows other children to chime into the activities him and his best friend do, and encourage him to get involved with other children even when his best friend is not around. I don't want Leonidas to become dependent on his best friend in order to have fun.
3. I'm still maintaining an authoritative parenting style, although I do believe it has become much more relaxed as Leonidas gets older. I am still a firm believer in possessing a nurturing and loving relationship with my children; and although I do continue to have high expectations in terms of his work ethic and the way in which he responds to disciplinary action, I feel now that I don't have to enforce it as strongly. By having him be apart of any clean-ups (if he had an accident), holding him responsible for any misconduct, and sitting down to explain to him why what he did was wrong, I truly feel that Leonidas has a much stronger sense of responsibility, which as a result, has fostered him to have more self control. In regards to his academic, I've noticed that he is instrinsically motivated to get his schoolwork done, on time and completed to the best of his ability. Now that he is older and is undergoing the industry vs. inferiority stage, he is busily trying to master whatever abilities our culture values. Being productive is intrinsically joyous and it fosters a sort of self-control that is crucial defense against emotional problems (page 373). It has been important for me to provide him with encouragement whenever he is stressed. Parents who are too critical of their children often have lower self-esteem (page 278). The last thing my child needs is to be more withdrawn and unsure of himself.
I've also become more laid back in terms of getting Leonidas involved in activities. I used to sign him up for after-school programs that I thought he might enjoy and would socially benefit him. Now, I allow Leonidas to make his own decisions in terms of how he wants to spend his time. I praise him when he makes his decisions on his own, asserting his independence. When he is nervous about an exam or reluctant to continue with an after school activity, I continue to provide emotional support by reminding him of the friends he has made because of the activities, the fun times they shared and commend him for all he's accomplished thus far.
Sources: (Text) "The Developing Person, Through Childhood" by Kathleen Stassen Berger
I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid on this assignment.