Kids Don’t Skip Stages

Kids don’t skip stages.

I read this on some online forum months ago, and it stopped me in my tracks. And it shook my entire parenting paradigm too – in a good way.

We have asynchronous kids. They do things on their own schedules. Some things happen very fast, and they fly past their same-age peers. Other things take more time. It’s okay. It’s part of the gifted game, and I am learning to accept that.

Somehow, though, in my mind, the stages that my kid seemingly skipped over had nothing to do with the behavioral issues we were currently dealing with. 

Piaget‘s theories of cognitive development made the case that children need the foundation of the earlier stage before they progress to the next, though he was looking at that development in much broader, more global terms.

Freud also stated that if people were prematurely moved beyond an early stage, they would go back later in life to make up for that absence. 

Now, I’m not a psychologist. I took a couple undergrad psych courses about 20 years ago, but all of this started to make sense to me.

When he was three, my son spent much more time reading and doing worksheets than the ordinary kid, who would have been exploring the world, climbing, tumbling, touching everything. Now that we’ve started to tackle some of the sensory issues that may have been in the way, he’s catching up for lost time. 

It’s not immaturity; it’s filling in the gaps.

J skipped crawling almost entirely. He bear crawled for a bit (sensory avoider, anyone?!) and then was an early walker. He didn’t have motor skills delays until he was about 3. Then the other kids who had spent more time on their hands and knees kept progressing and he slowed down a bit. We’re now intentionally crawling, wheelbarrow walking, laying on our tummies (he HATED tummy time!), and doing the work that most other kids would have already done.

The same with chewing. He didn’t really put things in his mouth… until he was 5. 

It’s a stage we have to work through rather than a negative behavior we need to correct. 

Of course, now that he is older, we can help him find appropriate ways to work through these things. I can still tell him not to lick the shopping cart handle. I’m not indulging his every impulse simply because there’s an unmet need. 

Instead, we work together to find ways to work through these developmental imperatives together.

Why am I sharing this? 

Because you might have a six year old wiggler too. Or a seven year old that needs to pretend play on the four year old level because he was so caught up in non-fiction books that he had no interest in pretending. Or maybe a ten year old who suddenly needs to touch everything. And it’s okay. They’ll get there. 

This blog has been part of the Hoagies’ Gifted Education Page Blog Hop, Ages & Stages. “Hop on over” to read more about what various developmental stages look like for gifted kids and adults, and maybe recognize your kids or even yourself in their words. 

6 Comments Add yours

  1. Good points about how each child – and especially asynchronous children – must progress through each developmental level at their own speed. And a reminder for parents to stop worrying about it! Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heather says:

      Thanks, Gail! I don’t know if parents can STOP worrying, but we can at least worry less!


  2. Elizabeth says:

    Yes! Thank you for this! My son skipped crawing & started walking by 9 months. He also leared to read on his own by 3 years. He didnt put things in his mouth either. And yes he does lick the shopping cart handles still…at 8 years old! Wow they are very similar! Its all ok & thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Heather says:

      Yes! We’re not alone! 🙂


  3. Laurie says:

    Very insightful!!

    Liked by 1 person

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