On Facebook, I belong to a lot of parenting groups. They are a great place to share information, ask questions, and perhaps answer a few questions as well. One question that seems to be asked more than others is about development. A parent will hesitantly ask, “I’m worried about my kid’s development. When should I be worried? Should I talk to someone?”
The group overwhelmingly always comes to the same conclusion. “It’s normal and be patient.” Often this is true, but while I know these people mean well but this is probably the absolute worst advice you can give.
Right now, I am guessing you are disagreeing with me. Parents often overreact especially when their kids are young. They worry that the slightest cough is the flu and the smallest bruise is a sign of a serious injury. They are always jumping to conclusions and thinking the worst.
You might be wondering, why telling them everything is normal is a problem?
Because sometimes, it isn’t normal.
Sometimes, what the parent noticed is a sign of something going on. I witnessed this twice with my kids. My younger daughter wasn’t talking. People told us she would talk when she was ready and to be patient. We didn’t listen. We took her to the doctor. A minor surgery and some time with a speech therapist now have her talking just like her friends. If we would have waited she might have been fine. Or she could have ended up entering school with issues that may reach into her adult life.
Her sister is an even stronger case. With her, we were worried because she was missing some milestones. “Just wait” we were told. We didn’t wait. We went to multiple doctors. They found a brain tumor. Now she is fine. She is happy, doing great in school, and if you saw her you would never know her past. But if we just waited?
But what would have happened if we just waited? Most, likely we would have lost her by now. we would have literally waited for her to die.
Don’t Over React
In the end, I am not telling you to go to the doctor for every bump, bruise or scrape. I am not telling you to run to a specialist if your son or daughter isn’t walking right away, or stumbles over words. Trust yourself. You know your children and you know when something is wrong. Err on the side of caution. It never hurts to see the doctor to ask a question.
What I am telling you is if you think something might be wrong, don’t just wait. Don’t assume it’s normal because Facebook said so. Don’t stop asking questions, and doesn’t stop looking for an answer. I am sure there will be times that it is nothing but there will be times it isn’t.
As a parent I know I would rather look back and say “Yeah, I overreacted a bit”. Instead of “if only we hadn’t waited”.
Now it’s your turn. Do you wait? Why? Do you seek help? Leave a message in the comments below, and don’t forget to share this post with anyone who is telling you “it’s normal, just wait”.
This was originally published 6/7/2016