Effects of Non-Normative Life Events on Preschool and Middle Aged Children; Cognitive and Socioemotional.
This paper is intended to answer the question of what the effects are of non -normative life events on preschoolers and middle childhood aged children; cognitively and socioemotionally. This is very dear to me as I have two young children as well as older step children that have dealt with medical conditions with their father and I, as well as divorce with my older step children.
Many factors in a child’s life from birth to adulthood can impact how they grow not only cognitively, but socioemotionally. As many children are different, so are their ways in which they react in different non-normative life events. “Non-Normative events are unexpected or unforeseen events that occur atypically or unpredictably, with no apparent relationship to other life events, and to some but not all members of a developmental cohort. Still, non-normative life events occur in a context of normative developmental events and each can influence the other in significant ways” (Corr, and Corr, 2013).
Children in loving caring homes may cope with the loss of their family pet better than a homeless child whose dog followed them around until it passed away. A child’s social and cognitive development will impact them emotionally. “Children encounter the deaths of others that are significant in their lives. Such deaths include those of grandparents or parents, siblings or peers, friends or neighbors, teachers and other school personnel, and pets or wild animals. Many adults undervalue the prevalence and importance of such deaths for children. However, these experiences of childhood and adolescence can have immediate impact and long-term significance” (Corr, and Corr, 2013). Children often view divorce the same as the loss felt in a death.
Death is not the only non-normative event that can cause issues in childhood development. An injury of a loved one or illness, and divorce of children’s parents are also ways of a child’s cognitive, and socioemotional development can be affected.
Children are naturally curious about the world that is around them. When an event occurs to change what they know as normal, the development changes as well. They attempt to understand why it occurred and adapt to the changes. Some children may blame themselves for mommy getting sick, or Buddy, the family dog, getting run over, although they may have no play in the events at all. Many times adults try to block children from the event to try to protect their feelings. This has shown to do more harm than good. Children understand loss to a point, depending on age. Explaining why mommy’s belly is sick and why surgeons need to fix it, will help them cope with what is going on around them. Children NEED to know these events were not their fault.
In my personal experience regarding illness and surgery, my husband and I include my four-year-old twins in every doctor’s appointment, hospital visit, and in anything we could so they may better understand what is going on with mommy. We answered every question they had and explained to where they may understand. Even knowing what we told them, they still both reverted back to behaviors that made them feel more safe and comfortable. There is only so much a four-year-old can comprehend, and their reversion is something we prepared for. One of my twins began wetting himself during the day; this being a behavior we had broken months before. In the instance with my husband’s previous divorce, my twelve-year-old stepson consistently wets the bed at night. “Emotional stress is a frequent cause of daytime wetting. The incontinence may begin after a known stress, such as starting kindergarten or a new school, the death of a relative, or a family illness. Most of the time, however, incontinence due to stress has no readily identifiable cause. The common age-range for this reaction to...
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