The early years of your child's life create the blueprint for relationship capacity and his level of emotional awareness. Positive and negative experiences at home and school boost or deflate your child's self-esteem and overall emotional development. You can help prevent emotional developmental delays by offering your 8-year old plenty of encouragement and praise and by addressing symptoms of emotional delays as they come.
Lack of Confidence
Middle childhood marks a threshold in the development of your child's self-esteem. It is a time when the values and knowledge gained from the familial unit are tested in the world and new relationships. Acceptance by peers and expanding his knowledge of the way the world works are necessary tools for creating positive self-esteem and confidence. Positive self-esteem is first taught at home and then the classroom through friendships and exercises in teamwork and positive communication.
Your child's emotional plate is full of new found stress and fears. Rejection, awareness of death, fears of the unknown and concerns of fitting in with peers may all plague the mind of your 8-year old. "Any disruption of what is considered normal for the child causes stress" and potential developmental setbacks during this time, says Child Development Specialist Karen DeBord. If your child has become withdrawn, it may be due to changes in the definition of "normal" at home or school.
Physical aggression in childhood kids usually declines as their reasoning skills develop. "Human Development" author Diane Papalia says that bullying is often a byproduct of stunted emotional development. As "aggressors tend to be unpopular," children who use bullying to obtain a goal likely become more frustrated by the negative reactions of peers and continue to act out aggressively. Aggressive 8-year olds may also reflect limited cognitive abilities, peer and familial rejection, or hostile parenting, Papalia says.
Disregard for Rules and Consequences
An emotionally healthy 8-year-old generally appreciates clearly defined rules and consequences. He has a growing awareness of how his actions affect others and modifies his behavior as a result. 8-year olds who do not grasp behavior boundaries may suffer from a disruptive behavior disorder such as conduct and oppositional defiant disorders. These disorders often coincide with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD and, thus, they should be addressed early on to prevent future criminal violence says Papalia.
- North Carolina State University; Childhood Years Ages Six through Twelve; Karen DeBord
- "Human Development"; Diane Papalia, et al; 2004
- PBS Parents: Child Development Tracker