is your child normal? you might be surprised...

counsellor

Every week parents tell me about their worries about their children.  This is quite a privilege....sometimes parents haven't talked to many people about them before they see me.  Hearing a parents' concerns is essential and the start of the problem solving process.

But I also know - because I hear the same things, each week, each year - that many of the things that as parents we worry about in our children are absolutely, perfectly normal.

In other words, the things we worry about are things that many kids, in many families do ALL the time.

They are not signs that the child has some kind of unusual psychological disorder.  

They are not signs that we are bad parents.  

They are not signs that they are bad kids.

I'm only able to have this perspective because I have talked to many thousands of families over the last 20 years.  Because when it comes to our children, worry (guilt, frustration, helplessness) is very easily triggered.

So just FYI, here's a list of some stuff you can relax a little about.

What's normal.

You tell your child to get dressed in the morning and you come back thirty minutes later and they are reading a comic under the bed with one sock on.
- Normal

Your child doesn't want to go to school sometimes and often has a very sore throat/tummy/left ankle bone in the morning.
- Normal

Your child can't independently finish homework tasks without your "support" and "reminders" and "encouragement" and "yelling blue murder" every second minute.

- Normal
 

Sometimes your child needs to hear something 17 times before they get it. Not 10 times, 15 times, not 16. The full 17 times is required.  
- Normal

You seriously consider getting said child a hearing test but then you realise they can hear you getting chocolate out its wrapper though several double brick walls.

- Normal

Your primary school aged child gets out of bed several times with very important and crucial things to tell you, like the fact Jack at school lost his reader because he forgot to bring his library bag, because his Mum ran out of petrol on the way to school ...last month.
- Normal


Your child often makes more noise than seems would be possible for a creature less than 1m tall, but also gets upset because things are "too noisy" at school or at the shops.

- Normal

Between trying to correct appalling table manners and getting some kind of nutritious food into your children, family dinner times are sometimes less "quality time" and sometimes just...hell on a stick.

- Normal.

Your child sometimes complains of work being too easy at school and says it's boring.

- Normal

Your child sometimes complains of work being too hard at school and says it's boring.

- Normal

Your child says they are worried about dying/ someone else dying/ world problems/poverty.

- Normal

Your child tells you about something incredibly mean and insensitive another child said or did to them at school.

- Normal

Your child fails to mention the incredibly mean and insensitive thing they said to another kid at their school today.

- Normal

Your child occasionally lies so absolutely straight faced, and so convincingly about something so that you wonder if you have raised a professional poker player.

- Normal

Your child can get so incredibly angry about something so trivial, and sob, yell and scream so loudly for so long that you seriously wonder if they have a psychiatric illness or their body has been taken over by an alien being.

- Normal

Your child doesn't tell you much about school and getting details out of them is like drawing blood from a stone.

- Normal

Your child talks endlessly about their school day including the colour textas they used in morning drawing activity until you think you may actually, literally scream right there in the supermarket while you are pushing the cart.

- Normal.

Your child cries a lot when someone they know dies.

- Normal

Your child doesn't cry hardly at all when someone they know dies

- Normal

Your child has a weird aversion to certain clothes items (purple, socks with seams, clothes with triangles) and an obsession with wearing other seemingly not special clothing items for weeks in a row.

- Normal

Your two or more children fight... a lot. About such momentous issues such as who lost a $2 toy that they never played and who is the rightful owner of the 1 nerf bullet on the ground out of the 3900 nerf bullets they own. 

- Normal

Your children write a story at school about the family holiday which cost you several thousand dollars and their main recollections involve the Happy Meals they got from McDonalds on the way.

- Normal

Your child adores video/computer games and would forgo pretty much all else (food, shelter, loved ones) in order to get 3 more minutes on minecraft/clash of clans/some other seemingly inane game.
- Normal

Your child is capable of getting 15 activities/toys/games/books out and spread all over the floor within 5.8 minutes but it takes them 20 minutes to put just one of those things away because they keep getting distracted by an ant.

- Normal

Your child forgets something you told them to do around 1.5 second after you told them. Yet they remember how much a particular game cost in a toy catalogue from 2011, and also the time when they were 6 and you yelled "okay please stop talking!" while you were pushing the cart.

- Normal

Let me make three very important points.

A) Just because it's normal doesn't mean it isn't incredibly frustrating, sad, hurtful or really painful for the child and/or for us as parents.  And therefore worthy of taking very seriously.

B) Just because it's normal doesn't mean you don't work on it or ask for help (GP, school teacher, child psychologist) to manage or change it

C) For many of these things, it happening some of the time is normal, it happening a lot or all of the time may be less normal.

I hope this list provides you with a little reassurance.

If not, and you are still worried, then please ask for help.  Parental gut feelings are important.

Kirrilie

PS next fortnight's blog is worrying about normal behaviors in teens

PS, if you would like more information about our counselling services (where we help families who are normal, abnormal and everything in between), please click here: