In his book Parenting for Everyone Vijayadev Yogendra says, “A child needs time to be a child; he or she should not be made into a small adult. A child must have time to lose the immaturities of childhood.” We know that there are many pressures on families that can push the child into premature independence, but an interesting factor is what has been termed the ‘parent expectation gap’. This comes about when we over-estimate what children are capable of at a particular age. Research from the USA found:
- 43% of parents think children can share and take turns with other children before the age of 3, but this ability only develops between the ages 3 and 4.
- 36% think children under the age of 2 have enough control to resist the impulse to do something forbidden and 56% say this happens before the age of 3 whereas most children are not able to do this until they are 3 ½ or 4 years old.
- 23% think children under the age of 1 can control their emotions and not have a tantrum when frustrated and another 18% expect this to happen before 2, whereas this control is not developed until 3 ½ or 4 years of age.